Space Structures International Corp. is a designer, fabricator and installer of three-dimensional double-layer grid type structures. Up to two years ago, the analyses of such structures were performed through a computer service bureau, utilizing a well known, commercially available, general purpose finite element program. The program could only perform analyses; it had no design capabilities. Although the program ran on the Cray-l computer which had extremely fast processing power, the actual turnaround time was not. Turnaround time was affected by the following factors: user priority which affected cost, system usage load on the service bureau and delivery of output results. Because Space Structures did not have an on-site high speed printer and its location was somewhat distant from the service bureau, computer output results were delivered by messenger service and were normally available for review 24 hours after submittal of the computer run. In addition to the slow turnaround, the costs of messenger service and service bureau, which included batch processing, connect and storage charges, became too high.
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