8 Reasons to Come to the Pointwise User Group Meeting

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The Pointwise User Group Meeting 2014 is approaching faster than both you and I think. This is our premier networking event and your best opportunity to learn how to make the software do what you need it to do on your CFD projects.

I invite you to join us in Anaheim on 29-30 October.

Need help deciding? Here are 7 good reasons and 1 kinda questionable one.

1. It’s Free

That’s right, the registration fee for all events is precisely zero. It’s Pointwise’s 20th anniversary and we’re celebrating by eliminating fees as a roadblock to your participation.

Stop reading and register right now. (Yes, it’s free but we still need you to register so we know who’s coming.) Don’t delay – the hotel’s block of specially priced rooms expires on 27 September.

2. You Could Win The Meshy

Close your eyes.

Imagine being envied by your coworkers. Feel the thrill of shaming your competitors.

How you ask? The winner of The Meshy Award not only receives an engraved Meshy Award trophy  to take home but their mesh appears on the T-shirt that all meeting attendees will be wearing.

The Meshy Award Winner from 2013

The Meshy Award Winner from 2013

So enter your finest mesh in our contest for The Meshy Award. What makes for a winner? “visual appeal, originality and uniqueness.”

Enter today. But don’t be late – entries are due by 15 September.

3. It’s Our 20th Anniversary

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been earning a living doing mesh generation for 20 years. That’s 30 years for Dr. Steinbrenner when you account for the pre-Pointwise days.

logo-pw-20th-bw-t

So come hear us wax nostalgic about the past two or three decades, retelling some stories for the hundredth time. See the toll that a couple of decades of mesh generation will take on a person.

Hmm. Probably not a strong selling point – moving on…

4. Anaheim Is Lovely That Time of Year

After hosting the past decade’s worth of events in our home town of Fort Worth, Texas, the Pointwise User Group Meeting 2014 will held on the west coast in lovely Anaheim, California.

Come for the meshing. Stay for the mouse.

5. Become an OpenFOAM Master

You can become not just a user but an OpenFOAM master by taking the special colocated OpenFOAM Master Class taught by Dr. Darrin Stephens of Applied CCM. Not only is Dr. Stephens extremely well-versed in OpenFOAM, but he’s also the Pointwise distributor for Oceana.

Register for this course – appropriate for intermediate and advanced OpenFOAM users – today.

6. Learn From Us and Each Other

Yes, you can learn from us with a full day of training courses on the latest tools, techniques, tips, tricks, and best practices in Pointwise. And you get to tailor the training to your needs by voting on the topic of a special short course we’ll offer. (But don’t delay – short course voting ends on 11 August.)

But you will also learn from each other, from discussions during the breaks and in the evenings.

And certainly the formal presentations of CFD work based upon Pointwise meshes will be a focal point of the information sharing. There’s still time to submit an abstract – they’re due 8 August.

7. See Other CFD Software

We’re fortunate to have several of our partners join us for this event, giving you the opportunity to learn more about how their products can work with Pointwise and your applications of CFD.

The current list of exhibiting partners includes:

  • ADS, a provider of design and analysis software for the turbomachinery industry
  • Applied CCM, an engineering software development company
  • CEI, developers of a visualization software package called EnSight
  • Intelligent Light, a provider of post-processing, data management, and big data visualization capability
  • Tecplot, developer of data visualization and analysis software

8. Monica Says So

In writing about SolidWorks World 2013, Monica Schnitger eloquently made the case for attending software user events. Let me quote her directly:

“Do it. Even if you’re not a joiner, go. Even if you don’t think you have anything to offer (you’re dead wrong, you do), go. Even if you didn’t organize it, go. Trust me. It’s very rarely not worth the effort and often you get out far more than you put in.”

You can read the rest of her words in The Power of Community.

I hope to see you in Anaheim this October when our community gathers.

[Update: 30 July 2014] Added CEI to the list of exhibiting partners.

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This Week in CFD

Big Things in CFD

  • Mentor Graphics has appended five new ones to their list of CFD Myths. I won’t spoil the surprise for you but will cite Myth #8: Experts Are Needed To Get Accurate CFD Simulation Results. [I recommend that you download, read, and start a discussion.]
  • CIMdata published their simulation and analysis market report in which they illustrate that the S&A market grew by 7.1% from 2012 to 2013 ($4 billion to $4.3 billion) and project compound annual growth of 7.7% leading to a market size of $6.2 billion in 2018. The report can be purchased here for $3,000.
  • Remember the CFD 2030 Vision Study and its estimate of an exascale computer’s power requirements? In a letter to the editor of Aviation Week magazine, a reader proposes powering this machine with a dedicated, modular, nuclear reactor. [Booyah!](Registration required.)
Using geometry from CT scans, this modeling of blood flow with CFD is one example of computational medicine. See associated text for link. Image from International Science Grid This Week.

Using geometry from CT scans, this modeling of blood flow with CFD is one example of computational medicine. See associated text for link. Image from International Science Grid This Week.

Software

Spider Man vs. Venom. Because mesh. Click for source.

Spider Man vs. Venom. Because mesh. Click for source.

Turbulence

  • To understand turbulence we need the intuitive perspective of art. [Factoid: Werner Heisenberg's - Nobel prize winner for quantum mechanics - doctoral thesis was on turbulence.]
  • On a related topic, FYFD‘s Nicole Sharp authored The Beautiful Unpredictability of Coffee, Clouds, and Fire.
"CFD is perhaps the most colourful technique used in engineering," is one quote from this article about CFD for a triathalon bicycle. 72% of the drag comes from what? Think before clicking the image for the article. Image from New Scientist.

“CFD is perhaps the most colourful technique used in engineering,” is one quote from this article about CFD for a triathalon bicycle. 72% of the drag comes from what? Think before clicking the image for the article. Image from New Scientist.

Applications

The effect of cooling fins (below) on the temperature of a hammer housing. Image from Mentor Graphics.

The effect of cooling fins (below) on the temperature of a hammer housing. Image from Mentor Graphics.

Space versus Place – The Grid in Painting (Again)

Another artist expanding upon use of the grid in abstract painting is Bill Mazziotti. By combining the grid with his organic elements of scraping the canvas and overpainting he creates a stabilized tension.

Grid-based paintings by Bill Mazziotti. Image from Donald S. Kolberg Sculpture and Painting.

Grid-based paintings by Bill Mazziotti. Image from Donald S. Kolberg Sculpture and Painting.

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This Week in CFD

All The News – 2 Weeks Worth

  • Tecplot announced the release of Tecplot 360 EX with new technology they call SZL which promises 92% less memory usage and a 9.6x speed-up over previous versions. In addition, the software’s UI has been redone using Qt.
  • News from Intelligent Light:
    • Yves-Marie Lefebvre has been named FieldView Product Chief.
    • The company is working on EPISODE, a new tool for managing multitudinous large datasets.
  • Best of the visualization web for May 2014.
  • Sandia’s S3D direct numerical simulation software imposes serious challenges on postprocessing.
  • Desktop Engineering’s Kenneth Wong wrote one of the best overviews of simulation in the cloud I’ve read so far. [Paradoxically, reading it made me think that the more automated a solution is, the smarter the user has to be.]
  • Mr. Wong is on a roll: here he writes about why CAD interoperability remains a problem.
Composite image of CFD visualization from Tecplot 360 EX. Image from Tecplot.

Composite image of CFD visualization from Tecplot 360 EX. Image from Tecplot.

  • From International Science Grid This Week comes a photo essay on immersive environments. [If any of you regularly use a tool like this to investigate your CFD data sets, please comment on this post and tell us how useful it is.]
  • Simscale has open positions for computer scientists and mechanical engineers.
  • Flow Science was one of 10 firms awarded a grant from the Venture Acceleration Fund.
  • If you use the DAFUL multi-body dynamics software you might be interested in use of EnSight to visualize its results.
  • CFD helps design a new dredge ball joint.
  • CFD considers whether natural ventilation is sufficient to maintain comfort inside a building.
  • ESI announced the agenda for day 1 of 3 for their 2nd OpenFOAM User Conference 2014.
  • TheFDS-SMV (Fire Dynamics Simulator &Smokeview Visualizer) developers have a two questions for their users.
    • What’s the future of parallel processing using MPI?
    • What’s the future of 32-bit builds? [I'm interested in this also. Building Pointwise for both 32-bit and 64-bit is excessive in light of my opinion that the vast majority of people use the 64-bit builds. How might people react if we stopped delivering 32-bit builds?]
Example of the use of simulation to design offshore platforms. Image from International Science Grid This Week. Click image for article.

Example of the use of simulation to design offshore platforms. Image from International Science Grid This Week. Click image for article.

Music to Mesh via Math

We know how music sounds. But what does it look like?

When Texas A&M’s Prof. Tim Davis isn’t developing algorithms and programs used in MATLAB and Google Street View he develops algorithms involving force-directed graph visualization and other technologies to convert sound into sight.

Here’s New Order’s Blue Monday visualized with each note as a line and each tone as a color. For more examples of Prof. Davis’ work and details about how it’s done visit his website at notesartstudio.com.

New Order's Blue Monday is visualized in mesh-like form by Texas A&M computer science professor Tim Davis. Image from notesartstudio.com with permission.

New Order’s Blue Monday is visualized in mesh-like form by Texas A&M computer science professor Tim Davis. Image from notesartstudio.com with permission.

Bonus: Download and print your own jet engine!

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The 7 Real Stages of a CFD Project

Motivated by Hi-Tech CFD’s 7 Stages of a Typical CFD Project and inspired by the slightly more cynical 7 Stages of a Project I present…

The 7 Real Stages of a CFD Project

  1. Enthusiasm: “Wow, this simulation is going to be really cool!”
  2. Disillusionment: “OMG, look at this CAD file.”
  3. Confusion: “You want the separation location accurate to within 1% by tomorrow?”
  4. Panic: “Why is the @#$%^&* solver crashing?”
  5. Search for the guilty: “Who implemented this turbulence model?”
  6. Punishment of the innocent: “There’s a problem with the mesh.”
  7. Praise and honor for the non-participants: “Wow, this 3D VR visualization is really cool!”
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This Week in CFD

Special “Happy Birthday to ‘Murica” Version

News

  • DEVELOP3D writes about running SolidWorks in the cloud using NVIDIA’s Grid Test Drive.
  • Congratulations to Altair for being recognized as a 2014 Michigan Bright Spot, helping drive forward the state’s economy and innovation.
  • Do you find the Jacobi Iterative Method more useful now that it’s been sped-up by a factor of 200?
  • Read about how Autodesk Simulation CFD is used to design large video displays and related devices. (PDF)
  • More reading, this time about grid generation for near-field sonic boom prediction.
This real-time, animated flow viz will help you track how Hurricane Arthur is messing up July 4th for the U.S. East coast. Click image for website.

This real-time, animated flow viz will help you track how Hurricane Arthur is messing up July 4th for the U.S. East coast. Click image for website.

More News

  • A team composed of Argonne National Lab, Caterpillar, and Convergent Science were awarded an HPC Innovation Excellence Award at the ISC’14 supercomputing conference for their work on internal combustion engine simulations.
  • Journal article: The prediction of bending strengths in steel fiber reinforced self-compacting concrete using CFD. (registration required)
  • VirtualGrid released VRMesh v8.5 for point cloud processing.
  • Flow Science released FLOW-3D Cast Version 4.
  • The open-source PIConGPU, a GPU-accelerated Particle-in-Cell code, has been released.
  • There’s an opening for a PhD student in the field of fluid mechanics at the Vienna University of Technology.
Take 10 minutes for a video demonstration of CFD in Femap. Click image for video.

Take 10 minutes for a video demonstration of CFD in Femap. Click image for video.

Even More News

  • NASA’s CFD 2030 Vision Study has everyone [meaning me - you were probably already thinking about it] thinking about exascale computing. Scientific Computing World has a nice overview article on Exascale Challenges. Some interesting [to me] factoids include:
    • An exaflop is a billion billion operations per second. That’s what we in science call “a lot.”
    • How will we program applications that have billions of threads? And how will we do so in a way that’s robust?
    • Who is going to do all this programming? It’s not within the typical CFD programmer’s skill set.
    • Power consumption is an issue, not from the “green” standpoint but from the “is it really worth 250 MW to run one computer” standpoint.
  • IBM says that chips with carbon nanotube transistors will be available by 2020 and yield a 5x speed-up.
  • We in CFD often get trapped in certain ways of thinking, like how FEA is really mature, widely adopted, and robustly applied by non-experts. However, you can make the case that Mechanical FEA Is In Its Infancy with opportunities that sound very similar to those related to CFD.

Visualization Must-See

Because we in CFD rely heavily on numerical algorithms and visualization for our work, Mike Bostock’s work on Visualization Algorithms is a must-read. Not only is the work interesting, but its presentation on the web is fantastically visually pleasing. Take the time to read it.

quick-sort-visualization

A portion of a visualization of a quicksort algorithm. Image from Mike Bostock.

Mesh For the Lady in Your Life

Gizmodo wants us to believe that the line of ladies’ handbags, purses, and clutches from designer Issey Miyake are inspired by origami but we at AFM know a mesh when we see one. Check out this animation of the Distortion clutch on Gizmodo.

The Bao Bao website defines their concept as “shapes made by chance.” This tells me that Issey Miyake knows more about mesh generation than we might first think. Because sometimes it feels like whether or not meshing works is a random act.

This delightful pastel Prism Rainbow bag from Bao Bao Issey Miyake is the perfect tote for any CFD conference.

This delightful pastel Prism Rainbow bag from Bao Bao Issey Miyake is the perfect tote for any CFD conference.

 

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FOAM meshing

9th OpenFOAM Workshop 2014

Last week I had the opportunity to meet some great people doing excellent work in open source CFD. Our hosts at the University of Zagreb were extremely welcoming, and I had a great time getting to know the students and researchers attending the workshop.

OpenFOAM is a package of many different solvers that are being actively developed by the community. The code has an impressive number of solvers that allow users the flexibility to simulate systems ranging from full car aerodynamics to ship hydrodynamics with a free surface to diffusion of cryogenic helium.

The workshop covered a wide range of topics including solver development, applications, and training, but of most interest to us at Pointwise were the discussions about grids and preprocessing for OpenFOAM. I was fortunate enough to present some work I have been doing in OpenFOAM to study grid effects on solution accuracy by considering embarrassingly simple test cases in order to isolate specific grid-related effects. Despite their apparent simplicity, deciphering the numerical artifacts in even these reduced cases proved insightful. Since the source for OpenFOAM is visible, it is possible to peek under the hood and discover both why the solution behaves as it does and how to improve it. I put together a short synopsis about some of the work I presented on grid quality in OpenFOAM, and I encourage you to take a look below if you are having difficulties with your meshes/solutions in OpenFOAM. By no means is it an exhaustive document, but I hope that it has a few good pointers that can help you achieve better results.

Grid effects in OpenFOAM.pdf

If you are interested in attending the workshop, next year it will be hosted in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The workshop is a fantastic way to learn more about OpenFOAM and see what others are doing. As always, if you are interested in Pointwise meshes for your applications in OpenFOAM or any other solver, please don’t hesitate to contact us or click below for more information.

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This Week in CFD

Applications

Very cool video of a simulation of a long-duration EF-5 tornado. Click image for article.

Very cool video of a simulation of a long-duration EF-5 tornado. Click image for article.

Events & Other News

  • The 3rd International Workshop on High-Order CFD Methods will be held 3-4 January 2015 in Orlando, Florida in advance of the AIAA SciTech Conference. If you intend to participate they’d like an email by 30 June for use in planning the event. Abstracts for presentations are due by 15 October.
  • Abstracts for the NAFEMS World Congress 2015, to be held in San Diego in June, are due 17 November.
  • Congrats to Tecplot for being named to the list of 100 best companies to work for in Seattle on the strength of their executive leadership (#19 in the mid-size category).
  • Pointwise’s own Travis Carrigan has his master’s thesis research included in Wind Turbine Technology from CRC Press.
CFD simulation for the purpose of evaluating pedestrian comfort. Click image for article.

CFD simulation for the purpose of evaluating pedestrian comfort. Click image for article.

Software

Tesla uses Exa PowerFLOW to evaluate aerodynamic performance in yaw. Image from SAE. Click image for article.

Tesla uses Exa PowerFLOW to evaluate aerodynamic performance in yaw. Image from SAE. Click image for article.

I Love IGES

There. I said it.

The folks at PADT blogged about their hatred of IGES files as a mechanism for transfer of CAD geometry in IGES Can’t Stand IGES Anymore! [Props for the wordplay.]

I am here to defend IGES’ honor.

Hating IGES is like saying you hate music on cassette versus LP. [Young people, ask a graybeard what a cassette tape is.]

Whereas PADT advises that IGES be your last choice for geometry import into ANSYS I’ll say that you should feel confident about using your IGES with Pointwise.

Image from Wikipedia.

Image from Wikipedia.

IGES is actually a pretty good format for sharing 3D geometry. (I am not alone in this opinion.) The format is well defined. It’s ASCII meaning that it’s readable. It takes very little time to become familiar with how an IGES file is laid out.

The problem with IGES files is that people write them in ways that explicitly violate the standard. One particular egregious violation is the definition of trimming curves. The file writer sets a flag that indicates whether the curves are defined in XYZ space or in the UV space of the surface being trimmed. That flag is often set incorrectly and the file reader goes to look for one type of curve or the other and can’t find it. Another example is the use of a string of points (what IGES calls copious data) to define a trimming curve. Unfortunately, that’s explicitly disallowed by the standard.

The result is that the file reader has to not just code to the standard but has to robustly handle non-standard files, a practice known as “flavoring” your IGES reader for files that come from specific sources (an IGES reader for CATIA, an IGES reader for Pro/E, etc.). You may infer that we have done a lot of that but we hide the flavoring under the hood.

To clear up some confusion, the IGES standard does include support for solid models, the so-called B-Rep Solid Model Object (entity type 186). So if you have a CAD system that will export solid models to IGES as 186s your reader should be able to import them.

In addition, we have implemented something (that works for all CAD import, not just IGES) that automatically assembles surface geometry into a solid (regardless of whether solid data exists in the file). On top of that, we’ve implemented something called quilting which is the ability to assemble multiple CAD surfaces into a single meshable region based on geometric feature lines.

Keep in mind also that when talking about CAD interoperability issues we need to distinguish between various error sources. One is accurate reading and writing of the file according to its specification. Another is the dreaded issue of tolerances and how they effect trimming and assemblies. Yet another is representation – how your CAD kernel represents a particular surface type may be different than how it is represented in the file you export to and different still from the way it’s represented in the system that must import it.

So learn to love IGES and we’ll all be happier.

Gridding Your Ceiling with Light

Interior designers are really embracing facets. First WoodSkin, then JOIN-Facet, and now LivingSculpture, a 3D modular ceiling installation consisting of individual quad OLED lights that can be arranged in a custom 3D shape and controlled interactively via an iPad.

Read more about LivingSculpture here and be sure to watch the videos. [Note: The page is written in French.] My office is going to get really cramped if I keep getting all this stuff. Also note that this is a logical extension of a 1970s era mirror ball.

LivingSculpture 3D Modular OLED system. Screen shot from a video of the lights being manipulated interactively.

LivingSculpture 3D Modular OLED system. Screen shot from a video of the lights being manipulated interactively.

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