It has been a busy summer for the folks at COMSOL. For those who do not know, COMSOL is the company behind the COMSOL Multiphysics software platform for modelling and simulation of all manner of physics-based systems – in fact, everything from optimization of wound treatment through energy-efficient lighting to the creation of award-winning fish dishes, and plenty more besides.

Along with preparations for its annual series of user conferences (being held in Boston, Stuttgart and Bangalore in October and November) and a packed schedule of tutorial webinars, the firm has begun shipping the latest iteration of COMSOL Multiphysics. Version 4.2 of the software is billed as a "major release", combining three new application modules (microfluidics, geomechanics and electrodeposition), greater CAD interoperability, as well as enhanced geometry, mesh and solver functionality.

Clearly lots to talk about – and this special video feature lets COMSOL staffers do just that. In the first instalment (above), David Kan, COMSOL's vice-president of sales, explains that while "simulation has become an integral part of what we do as scientists and engineers", the key to success lies in simulations that mimic what happens in the real world. "The [whole] point", he adds, "is to have a simulation that gets as close to reality as possible."

In part two, Daniel Smith, lead developer of the COMSOL Multiphysics plasma module, provides an application-specific take on simulation, explaining why a multiphysics modelling approach is essential for the simulation of complex plasma processes in semiconductor manufacturing. "Plasmas are perfect examples of a multiphysics problem," he says. "They're conductive assemblies of charged particles, neutrals and electromagnetic fields – all [of which] interact with each other in a nonlinear and very complicated way."

As for the bigger picture, it seems inevitable that as simulation software becomes ever-more sophisticated, the natural progression will see increasing numbers of scientists and engineers using it to shed light on real-world problems, as Kan describes in the final segment.

"We're already seeing the benefits to our customers," claims Kan. "People have discovered new physics phenomena. [They] have been able to innovate new medical treatments, make better products faster, and students have even been able to grasp theory faster using simulation."

As he concludes, "The future's bright for this technology. Our community [of users] is growing and we’re headed in the right direction."