HPD’s Background/Unusual History
(The History partially explains how age, etc. relates to our current status)
BACKGROUND: Initial HPD work began many years ago when Parks** joined Xerox and devised a (rigorous) Failure Rate Prediction Method for any situation. As she took on growing management roles in engineering, she saw that Variability was what drove most of the thousands of man-years expended on Product Development for clean-sheet mid-range to high-end products. I.e., engineers had to pervasively deal with Variability during Design Engineering/Technology Development, yet existing probabilistic methods were rudimentary and their knowledge even of that was quite lacking! While Xerox was an extreme case for having to deal with Variability (just think of paper & toner – each with properties laden with Variability – on the fly), many major manufacturing corporations also must seriously address Variability, especially for catastrophic failure modes. Thus, she left management, and started to conceive of the HPD Methodology & Software for addressing Design Analysis & Synthesis, probabilistically & holistically. Applications of early HPD showed remarkable results that cracked previously unsolvable major problems.
Realizing that HPD (i) would be as applicable to all areas beyond Design Engineering (e.g., to Business, Bio-Engineering, Material Science) that need to address Variability and (ii) would revolutionize Applied Mathematics, she joined University of Rochester (UR) as a Professor of Mathematics. Thus began the effort to fully develop & productize HPD. (At that stage, some of HPD’s capabilities had been developed, and the user-interface was text-driven.) However, due to health (and other personal issues), the pre-plan (with UR) was to retire after 5 years to warm California, take a necessary break, and then carry on the work.
UNUSUAL HISTORY: The break after the 2nd retirement, however, took many years. By then, a new team had to be formed and HPD – which had run on Suns which themselves had to be refurbished to run – had to be resuscitated. After that, it was ported to PCs before we could begin to develop the GUI. Even without the GUI, an MBSE company (which much later was acquired by ANSYS) wanted to acquire it, but there was a Rights issue that took nearly 2 years to resolve with Xerox. … (Earlier, while at the UR, SDRC (now part of Siemens) wanted to partner with us in productizing HPD, but the dot-com bust resulted in canceling the plan. Prior to that, Dassault was interested, but we chose SDRC.)
By then, our GUI work had progressed quite well so that we wanted to develop that fully ourselves, i.e., not be acquired at that stage. But we were soon beset by team members’ and their families’ health issues, thus delaying attaining HPD’s launch-readiness by several years! . . . Then it was Covid times! . . . And then, age & a freak accident led to Variability Institute’s current need for finding heir-organizations to carry on the deployment and revolution. (Having finished productizing HPD, Variability Institute phased down its activities because Parks’ advanced age & health issues necessitated her moving to AZ with remote support from other principals. However, a primary team member suffered a freak fatal accident.)
Parks’ current advanced age is due to 2 interruptions in her career: (i) A 16-year break early on due to myriad family matters and (ii) the pre-planned one already explained above.