Best Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) Software

Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) software, also referred to as simulation software, supports engineering analysis tasks. CAE software encompass finite element analysis (FEA), computational fluid dynamics (CFD), multibody dynamics (MDB), and optimization capabilities. CAE software enables users to simulate, validate, and optimize products and manufacturing tools. Some CAE products allow users to model discrete events, while others can model continuous events. Some CAE products are hybrid simulators that can model both continuous and discrete events.

CAE products are used for both academic and industrial applications across a variety of industries such as communications and agriculture. Many CAE products offer a wide range of functionality in the form of all-purpose multiphysics platforms that can be applied to a diverse range of use cases. Some fit-for-purpose CAE systems provide more limited functionality in a single area such as for modeling network or mechanical structures. CAE products is frequently implemented with other CAx applications, such as Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software, to support an organization’s product lifecycle management (PLM).

To qualify for inclusion in the Computer-Aided Engineering category, a product must:

  • Enable users to create product and structure simulations through an graphical user interface (GUI)
  • Allow users to test and verify components of a simulation with customizable environmental variables
  • Help users optimize process or product development
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    MATLAB is a programming, modeling and simulation tool developed by MathWorks.

    Simulink is a tool for block diagrams, electrical mechanical systems and machines from MathWorks.

    NI Multisim is an electronic schematic capture and simulation program.

    SimEvents is a part of MathWorks which adds discrete event simulation to the MATLAB/Simulink environment.

    HyperWorks is a multi-discipline simulation software.

    Mathematica is a computational software program based on symbolic mathematics, developed by Wolfram Research.

    GNU Octave is an open-source mathematical modeling and simulation software very similar to using the same language as Matlab and Freemat.

    SimScale is a leading cloud-based CAE platform that provides access to CFD, FEA, and Thermodynamics simulation capabilities 100% via a standard web browser. No hardware or licenses required. Try the free plan or the 14-day trial for the Professional account at

    NetLogo is an open-source multi-agent simulation software.

    Scilab is a free open-source software for numerical computation and simulation similar to Matlab/Simulink.

    Enterprise Architect is a visual platform for designing and constructing software systems, for business process modeling, and for more generalized modeling purposes. Enterprise Architect is based on the latest UML® 2.5 specification. UML defines a visual language that is used to model a particular domain or system (either proposed or existing). Enterprise Architect is a progressive tool that covers all aspects of the development cycle, providing full traceability from the initial design phase through to deployment, maintenance, testing and change control.

    NEi Nastran is a software for engineering simulation of stress, dynamics, and heat transfer in structures.

    COMSOL Multiphysics (formerly FEMLAB) is a finite element analysis, solver and simulation software package for various physics and engineering applications, especially coupled phenomena, or multi-physics.

    AnyLogic is the standard in multimethod modeling technology, delivering increased efficiency and less risk when tackling complex business challenges. The unmatched flexibility found in AnyLogic allows users to capture the complexity of virtually any system, at any level of detail, and gain a deeper insight into the interdependent processes inside and around an organization.

    OpenFOAM is an open-source software used for computational fluid dynamics (or CFD).

    Adaptive Simulations offers a cloud-based service: Ingrid Cloud, a fully automated flow simulation experience. Ingrid Cloud increases accuracy, flexibility and cost efficiency when simulating flow. The accessibility and ease of use of the solution enables designers and architects without any prior knowledge of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) or simulations to accelerate and improve their design. Our unique automated solution makes the complex easy. Read more about Ingrid Cloud, and TRY FOR FREE at

    NetSim is a network simulation software for defense applications, network design validation and network research and development.

    ExtendSim is a simulation software for discrete event, continuous, discrete rate and agent-based simulation.

    ANSYS Mechanical Pro adds more features to the capabilities of ANSYS DesignSpace. It has the same user interface as DesignSpace, resulting in a fast learning experience and greater productivity for regular or occasional users

    Maple is a general-purpose computer algebra system developed and sold commercially by Waterloo Maple Inc.

    PLECS is a tool for system-level simulations of electrical circuits.

    SageMath is a system for algebra and geometry experimentation via Python.

    Simio is an object-oriented discrete event and agent based simulation software developed by Simio LLC.

    Autodesk® CFD software provides computational fluid dynamics and thermal simulation tools to help you predict product performance, optimize designs, and validate product behavior before manufacturing.

    DX Studio is a suite of tools for simulation and visualization.

    Elmer is an open-source multiphysical simulation software for Windows/Mac/Linux.

    Enterprise Dynamics is a simulation software platform developed by INCONTROL Simulation Solutions.

    Flexsim is a discrete event simulation software.

    ModelCenter is a framework for integration of third-party modeling and simulation tools/scripts, workflow automation, and multidisciplinary design analysis and optimization from Phoenix Integration.

    OpenSim is an open-source software system for biomechanical modeling.

    PRO/II is a software for steady state chemical process simulation and extensively used by oil and gas refineries.

    SimPy is an open-source discrete-event simulation package based on Python.

    TRNSYS is a software for dynamic simulation of renewable energy systems, HVAC systems, building energy use and both passive and active solar systems.

    Vensim is a system dynamics and continuous simulation software for business and public policy applications.

    Advanced Simulation Library (ASL) is an open-source hardware accelerated multiphysics simulation software.

    AMESim is a platform to analyze multi-domain, intelligent systems and predict and optimize multi-disciplinary performance.

    ANSYS Fluent software is the most-powerful computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tool available, empowering you to go further and faster as you optimize your product's performance. Fluent includes well-validated physical modeling capabilities to deliver fast, accurate results across the widest range of CFD and multiphysics applications

    ANSYS HFSS software is the industry standard for simulating high-frequency electromagnetic fields. Its gold-standard accuracy, advanced solvers and high-performance computing technologies make it an essential tool for engineers tasked with executing accurate and rapid design in high-frequency and high-speed electronic devices and platforms. HFSS offers state-of the-art solver technologies based on finite element, integral equation, asymptotic and advanced hybrid methods to solve a wide range of microwave, RF and high-speed digital applications.

    ANSYS Maxwell is the industry-leading electromagnetic field simulation software for the design and analysis of electric motors, actuators, sensors, transformers and other electromagnetic and electromechanical devices. With Maxwell, you can precisely characterize the nonlinear, transient motion of electromechanical components and their effects on the drive circuit and control system design. By leveraging Maxwell’s advanced electromagnetic field solvers and seamlessly linking them to the integrated circuit and systems simulation technology, you can understand the performance of electromechanical systems long before building a prototype in hardware.

    ASCEND is an open-source equation-based modelling environment.

    Chemical WorkBench is a chemical kinetics simulation software tool developed by Kintech Lab.

    Freemat is a free environment for rapid engineering, scientific prototyping and data processing using the same language as Matlab and GNU Octave.

    Galatea is a multi-agent, multi-programming language, simulation platform.

    GoGetFunding is a crowdfunding website that lets you raise money for anything that matters to you.

    GoldSim is a simulation software for system dynamics and discrete event simulation, embedded in a Monte Carlo framework.

    Khimera is a chemical kinetics simulation software tool developed by Kintech Lab.

    Mobility Testbed is an open-source multi-agent simulation testbed for transport coordination algorithms.

    Modelica is an open standard for modeling software.

    ns-3 is an open-source network simulator.

    OpenEaagles is a multi-platform simulation framework to prototype and build simulation applications.

    Open Source Physics is an open-source Java software project for teaching and studying physics.

    Accelerate Process Improvement While Eliminating Risk ProModel is a discrete-event simulation technology that is used to plan, design and improve new or existing manufacturing, logistics and other operational systems. It empowers you to accurately represent real-world processes, including their inherent variability and interdependencies, in order to conduct predictive analysis on potential changes. Optimize your system around your key performance indicators.

    PSF Lab calculates the point spread function of an optical microscope under various imaging conditions based on a rigorous vectorial model.

    RoboLogix is a robotics simulation software developed by Logic Design Inc.

    Simcad Pro is a dynamic discrete and continuous simulation software.

    SIMUL8 is a software for discrete event or process based simulation.

    Stanford University Unstructured is an open-source framework for computational fluid dynamics simulation and optimal shape design.

    Step is an open-source two-dimensional physics simulation engine (KDE).

    Plant Simulation is a plant, line and process simulation and optimization software.

    Tortuga is an open-source software framework for discrete-event simulation in Java.

    VisSim is a system simulation and optional C-code generation of electrical, process, control, bio-medical, mechanical and UML State chart systems.

    Wolfram SystemModeler is a modeling and simulation software based on the Modelica language.

    20-sim is a bond graph-based multi-domain simulation software.

    Actran is a finite element-based simulation software to analyze the acoustic behavior of mechanical systems and parts.

    advantum PDM is a engineering CAD software that makes possible for engineers to work more effectively and access drawings and models directly in advantum using CAD integrations.

    Easily simulate mechanical product aspects with electrical aspects (in 0D, 1D, and 3D) and leverage automatic code-generation for embedded systems - in harmony with Altair's broad and deep portfolio of CAE simulation products and IoT solutions.

    ANSYS Autodyn simulates the response of materials to short duration severe loadings from impact, high pressure or explosions. It is best suited for simulating large material deformation or failure. Autodyn provides advanced solution methods without compromising ease of use. Complex physical phenomena such as the interaction of liquids, solids and gases; the phase transitions of materials; and the propagation of shock waves can all be modeled within Autodyn. Integrated within ANSYS Workbench with its own native user interface, this program has for decades led the industry in ease of use, enabling you to produce accurate results with the least amount of time and effort

    A comprehensive tool kit that includes the best of ANSYS's world-class computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software so you can enjoy the fastest, most accurate results across the widest array of applications, all the time, without compromise

    The most advanced companies in the world are deploying CFD simulation in a big way to meet and beat market demands. But CFD is no longer just for specialists. Now simulation tools are being used by more companies and by less-specialized engineers across a broad range of industries and products. They are discovering the increased accuracy, functionality and expandability of serious CFD solutions that provide greater insight, give you greater confidence and reveal unexpected behavior.

    ANSYS CFX is a high-performance computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software tool that delivers reliable and accurate solutions quickly and robustly across a wide range of CFD and multi-physics applications. CFX is recognized for its outstanding accuracy, robustness and speed with rotating machinery such as pumps, fans, compressors, and gas and hydraulic turbines.

    ANSYS Discovery Live provides instantaneous 3D simulation, tightly coupled with direct geometry modeling, to enable interactive design exploration and rapid product innovation. It is an interactive experience in which you can manipulate geometry, materials types or physics inputs, then instantaneously see changes in performance

    ANSYS Electronics Desktop is the premier, unified platform for electromagnetic, circuit and system simulation. Gold-standard tools like ANSYS HFSS, Maxwell, Q3D Extractor, and Simplorer are built natively in the Electronics Desktop, which serves as a universal Pre/Post processor for these tools

    FENSAP-ICE provides leading three-dimensional, state-of-the-art, design and aid-to-certification simulation software to provide enhanced aerodynamic and in-flight icing protection solutions in a cost-effective manner

    ANSYS Forte incorporates proven ANSYS Chemkin-Pro solver technology, the gold standard for modeling and simulating gas phase and surface chemistry. While legacy engine-combustion CFD simulations utilize chemistry solvers that are too slow to handle the chemistry details required for accurate predictions of ignition and emissions, Forte uses multicomponent fuel models combined with comprehensive spray dynamics, without sacrificing simulation time-to-solution

    ANSYS Icepak provides powerful electronic cooling solutions which utilize the industry-leading ANSYS Fluent computational fluid dynamics (CFD) solver for thermal and fluid flow analyses of integrated circuits (ICs), packages, printed circuit boards (PCBs) and electronic assemblies. The ANSYS Icepak CFD solver uses the ANSYS Electronics Desktop (AEDT) graphical user interface (GUI). This provides a CAD-centric solution for engineers who can leverage the easy-to-use ribbon interface to manage thermal issues within the same unified framework as ANSYS HFSS, ANSYS Maxwell and ANSYS Q3D Extractor. Electrical and mechanical engineers working in this environment will enjoy a completely automated design flow with seamless coupling from HFSS, Maxwell and Q3D Extractor into Icepak for thermal analysis.

    ANSYS Mechanical Enterprise is the flagship mechanical engineering software solution that uses finite element analysis (FEA) for structural analysis using the ANSYS Mechanical interface. It covers an enormous range of applications and comes complete with everything you need from geometry preparation to optimization and all the steps in between. With Mechanical Enterprise you can model advanced materials, complex environmental loadings and industry-specific requirements in areas such as offshore hydrodynamics and layered composite materials

    ANSYS Mechanical Premium uses the ANSYS Mechanical interface to deliver powerful finite element modeling capabilities in a way that you can use to make real structural engineering decisions. Mechanical Premium gives you access to the ANSYS Mechanical solver with incredible scalability, wide industry adoption and superb support from a broad base of engineers around the globe

    ANSYS Q3D Extractor efficiently performs the 3-D and 2-D quasi-static electromagnetic field simulations required for the extraction of RLCG parameters from an interconnect structure. It then automatically generates an equivalent SPICE subcircuit model. These highly accurate models can be used to perform signal integrity analysis to study electromagnetic phenomena, such as crosstalk, ground bounce, interconnect delays and ringing, to understand the performance of interconnects, IC packages, connectors, PCB's, bus bars and cables.

    ANSYS Twin Builder improves predictive maintenance outcomes to save on warranty and insurance costs and optimize your product's operations

    ANSYS SIwave is a specialized design platform for power integrity, signal integrity and EMI analysis of IC packages and PCBs. SIwave helps you model, simulate and validate high-speed channels and complete power delivery systems typical in modern high-performance electronics. It accurately extracts multi-gigabit SERDES and memory buses, providing product sign-off compliance for various designs. SIwave's full wave extraction of complete power distribution networks (PDN) enables you to verify noise margins and ensure impedance profiles are met through automatic decoupling analysis in low voltage designs

    APMonitor is a tool for dynamic simulation, validation, and optimization of multi-domain systems with interfaces to Python and MATLAB.

    AutoCAST is a metal casting design and simulation software developed by Advanced Reasoning Technologies.

    Automation Studio is a fluid power, electrical and control systems design and simulation software developed by Famic Technologies Inc.

    CircuitLogix is an electronics simulation software developed by Logic Design Inc.

    ClearCalcs makes it easy to quickly create engineering computations that look great and are easy to check. Replace your clunky spreadsheets and expensive desktop software with powerful, easy to understand templates that are quick to export to PDF, and available online with no install.

    CMH Software is a leader in electrical design and training software.

    Conself is a one of the best and web-based simulation tools SFA and CFD system. It has include characteristics which include 3D automation and designing, customizable analysis to fulfill every need of consumers, innovative and creative web design which helps to understand all the concepts, and so on.

    CYME Power Engineering Software is a suite of applications composed of a network editor, analysis modules, and user-customizable model libraries to get the solution.

    DWSIM is an open-source CAPE-OPEN compliant chemical process simulator.

    Ecolego is a simulation software tool for creating dynamic models and performing deterministic and probabilistic simulations.

    EcosimPro is a continuous and discrete modelling and simulation software.

    Facsimile is a free, open-source discrete-event simulation library.

    FutureFlow Rx uses historical patient flow patterns, near real-time clinical data, and discrete event simulation to reveal key trends, provide operational insights, and deliver specific action plans to enhance patient outcomes, lower costs and drive additional revenues. Our platform accurately predicts future events, helping hospitals make the right operational decisions to reduce risk, decrease the length of stay and improve operational margins.

    Intergraph Smart Process Engineering (SPE) is a post-simulation, 2D conceptual design level, data-centric, engineering tool that will allow process engineers to rapidly develop an optimized and intelligent conceptual level Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) basis

    Isaac dynamics is a dynamic process simulation software for conventional and renewable power plants.

    Lanner L-SIM Server is a Java-based simulation engine for simulating BPMN2.0 based process models.

    Lanner WITNESS is a discrete event simulation platform for modelling processes and experimentation.

    MapleSim is a multi-domain modeling and simulation tool developed by Waterloo Maple Inc.

    Patient Flow and Process Improvement Healthcare needs an easier, more quantifiable and reusable way of visualizing current practices, analyzing potential process and policy changes and planning future service lines and strategic direction. MedModel enables organizations to test their ideas and scenarios for radical cost reduction or other performance objectives in a virtual environment before they are implemented, reducing the risks of implementing ineffective initiatives.

    Minsky (economic simulator) is an open-source visual computer program for dynamic simulation of economic models.

    ANSYS Multiphysics solutions fit the needs and experience level of your engineering organization, from design engineers performing upfront simulation and need easy-to-use simulation solutions to advanced analysts performing complex multiphysics studies that require intricate, detailed physical modeling capabilities

    PDS is a comprehensive, intelligent computer-aided design/engineering (CAD/CAE) application for plant design, construction, and operations

    Physics Abstraction Layer is an open-source physics simulation package.

    Transform Static Flowcharts and Workflow Diagrams into Dynamic Simulation Models. Quickly and easily simulate Microsoft Office Visio® flowcharts, Value Stream Maps and workflow diagrams. Process Simulator installs as an add-in to Visio, allowing you to seamlessly create and run simulation models inside Visio. It is a simple, predictive, productivity improvement tool.

    Product Planner helps you organize and collaborate on your product data plus get meaningful manufacturing insights. More powerful than spreadsheets, and less painful than enterprise systems, we help you get the most from your Bill Of Materials.

    Project Chrono is an open-source multi-physics simulation framework.

    Simulations Plus is a modeling and simulation software for pharmaceutical research.

    SimulationX is a modeling and simulation software based on the Modelica language.

    SIMULIA Structural Simulation Engineer provides an easy-to-use and powerful environment for conducting structural static, frequency, buckling, modal dynamic response, and structural- thermal analysis of parts and assemblies. SIMULIA Structural Simulation Engineer can leverage design and simulation data in SOLIDWORKS® models

    SmartPlant Fusion is a breakthrough solution to help you find, capture, organize, link, and visualize large volumes of engineering data and documents through a simple web portal. SmartPlant Fusion is the fastest way to establish a single point of access to all your engineering information

    SmartPlant Instrumentation offers a single engineering environment to create and manage instrumentation data, as well as create and manage change consistently across required deliverables

    The ability to act quickly and make the right decisions can be crucial to the production and safety of your facility. Hexagon PPM now offers the SmartPlant Plant Engineering Solutions (PES) Schematic products bundle to enable flexibility and speed in design and engineering. The SmartPlant PES solution bundle includes SmartPlant Electrical, SmartPlant Instrumentation, and SmartPlant P&ID

    SOFA is an open-source framework for multi-physics simulation with an emphasis on medical simulation.

    Stromasys provides enterprise-class virtualization solutions for legacy systems, including PDP-11, Digital VAX, Alpha, SPARC and HP 3000.

    The Vienna Ab initio simulation package(VASP) is a main electronic structure program for solids, surfaces, and interfaces. MadeA-VASP incorporates a through graphical interface to set up, run and analyze VASP calculations.

    VisualSim Architect is an electronic system-level software for modeling and simulation of electronic systems, embedded software and semiconductors.

    Working Model is a dynamic simulator with connections to SolidWorks.