Data Analysis & Simulation

EasyFit Used by NASA to Improve Monte Carlo Risk Simulation Models

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

On April 17 2005, the Millstone nuclear generating plant in Connecticut shut down when a circuit board monitoring a steam pressure line short-circuited. “Tin whiskers” – microscopic growths of the metal from soldering points on a circuit board – were blamed for causing the problem. These whiskers are comprised of nearly pure tin, and are therefore electrically conductive.

Field failures attributable to tin whiskers have cost individual programs many millions of dollars each. As a result, manufacturers of high-reliability systems are forced to use Monte Carlo simulation models to decide whether the use of tin poses an acceptable risk in a given application.

Recently a group of NASA scientists lead by Karim J. Courey, a Principal Engineer with the Orbiter Sustaining Engineering Office, Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, used our distribution fitting software EasyFit to better understand the underlying process and develop a probability model that can be used to improve existing Monte Carlo risk simulation models… read the full case study

Ordering Our Distribution Fitting Software on a CD

Friday, December 5th, 2008

From now on, our distribution fitting software EasyFit can be ordered on a CD, in addition to the download version. The motivation for adding this feature was that in some countries it is required for accounting purposes. Most times you won’t need a CD since EasyFit is available for immediate download from our website, but if you do need it, you might find this feature useful.

The CD will be produced exclusively for you, and will include the EasyFit installation package along with your personal license key and registration details in a separate file.

The CD is priced at $14.95, including shipping. To receive a CD, check the option “Order this product on a CD” and make sure you specify a valid postal address when filling in the order form. Once your order is processed, you will immediately receive your license key via email (so you can start using EasyFit right away), and the CD will be shipped to you in a few days.

Distribution Fitting Online Demo

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Click here to watch the quick Flash demo showing how to fit probability distributions using EasyFit and apply the best fitting distribution to perform specific calculations – for instance, make estimates using the quantile function, and calculate probabilities.

The data set used in this demo consists of maximum daily wind gust speeds recorded at Station TPLM2 located in the Atlantic Ocean during 2005-2007. This station is owned and maintained by the National Data Buoy Center, and measures wind speed, air temperature, sea temperature, and other data used for weather forecasting.

NOAA defines a wind gust as “a sudden, brief increase in speed of the wind” which usually lasts for less than 20 seconds. The relatively rare but very high wind gusts cause the most damage, that is why they are of more interest than the average daily wind speeds. In essence, the wind gusts are extreme events – no wonder the Generalized Extreme Value distribution perfectly fits the data:

Generalized Extreme Value Distribution

(the x axis units are m/s)

Student and Academic Licenses for EasyFit

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

The Student License is a new, affordable license that can be purchased and used by students of educational institutions for homework, coursework, and other non-commercial purposes. This license expires in 12 months, starting from the purchase date.

On the other hand, if you need to use EasyFit for more than one year – for example, for PhD research, then the Academic License would be a more cost-effective solution for you, since it doesn’t expire and can be used for as long as necessary. We have been offering the Academic License for almost 2 years now, and during that time, we have received a lot of useful feedback from our customers. We appreciate any kind of feedback, both positive and negative, so if you have something to say about EasyFit, or would like to share how you are using it exactly, feel free to let us know.

EasyFit Subscription Licensing

Monday, March 24th, 2008

We are happy to announce that EasyFit is now available on a subscription basis, in addition to the traditional perpetual software licensing. The subscription licensing program enables you to legally use the full version of EasyFit for a limited period of time without the need for a large upfront investment. At the same time, you get access to the latest versions of the product and technical support.

Specifically, the Annual Subscription License allows you to use EasyFit for one year at a fraction of the Perpetual License price. We are also considering to offer additional shorter-term subscriptions such as semi-annual and quarterly licenses – please let us know if you are interested.

Why Subscription Software?
Outside the software world, the idea of charging customers per use or per time period is nothing new – consider your electricity or phone bills – because companies and individual users usually get paid monthly, they also prefer to spend monthly. Software vendors don’t want to get left behind and strive to offer “pay per use” and similar flexible pricing models. This approach has in fact been mastered by numerous online subscription sites that usually charge you per month.

The situation with desktop software is a bit different here: the customers are prepared to pay a relatively large upfront fee and optional annual maintenance fees due to historical reasons. After all, software users actually like to own the products they purchased. However, when it comes to large ticket items, there is a benefit in renting, or subscribing to, software products, which allows you to better manage your costs and save money in certain cases – for example, when you need the software for a short-term project.

There is also a positive side effect of subscription software: for a customer, it drives down the costs of switching to competing products, and thus motivates vendors to work harder on improving their software. Some large companies such as Autodesk already offer their rather expensive products on a yearly subscription basis as a cost-effective alternative to the perpetual licensing, and this is something other vendors should consider doing.

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