This column suggests that developing 3D structural models as tools for observing and exploring failures in the virtual domain could prove instrumental in avoiding failure without committing hardware. Likewise, instead of building hardware to systematically evaluate failures in the presence of random effects, virtualization through a 3D model could provide a completely user-defined environment for conducting controlled experiments. In such a virtual environment, systematic and random behaviors can be introduced and parsed to provide greater clarity in the search for root causes of failure.

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