This Week in CFD

Intelligent Light Visits Open Source

Intelligent Light, makers of the FieldView CFD postprocessing software, announced the receipt of a $1 million phase 2 grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy to commercialize the DoE’s VisIt software. Integration of FieldView into VisIt is said to have begun. VisIt is an “open source interactive parallel visualization and graphical analysis tool.”

There’s no mention of exactly how the two products will be integrated, offered, supported, and maintained.

  • FieldView 13 product page
  • VisItusers.org, a user community website
  • Note: Web pages for VisIt at Lawrence Livermore National Lab appear to be offline.

Also from Intelligent Light comes this case study on how automotive engineers can address their challenges using engineered workflows.

Rendering done in FieldView of flow over a truck. Image from Intelligent Light.

Rendering done in FieldView of flow over a truck. Image from Intelligent Light.

Tech News

  • The CAE Watch blog debunks two myths of open source CFD: it’s the cheapest solution and it’s inferior to commercial tools. [Remember: open source CFD is free like a puppy is free.]
  • Boston University’s Prof. Lorena Barba has released 12 Steps to Navier-Stokes, a self-paced introductory CFD course presented in the form of IPython Notebooks. [Regrettably, I have not yet had a chance to run through the 12 steps myself yet.]
  • When wind loads become a pacing factor in the design and operation of large ships and offshore platforms it’s time for a new, joint industry effort to develop standards for application of wind tunnel and CFD data.
  • Flow Science published the FLOW-3D Newsletter for summer 2013 including an article about partially overlapping and conforming mesh blocks.
  • Have you seen the OpenFOAM Code Style Guide?

News from SIGGRAPH

  • Here’s a CAD-oriented summary of SIGGRAPH.
  • Will gITF do for 3D content what mp3 did for music?
  • Here’s a brief note about OpenGL on mobile devices. [Can you tell SIGGRAPH was held recently?]
  • Speaking of SIGGRAPH, why is its attendance falling?
  • How would you incorporate Disney’s AIREAL 3D haptic feedback device into CFD visualization?
  • Here’s Best of the Visualization Web for June 2013. [Not really SIGGRAPH but it fits.]

Biz News

  • In this Life Upfront podcast Wayne McClelland offers presentation skills for engineers. [Hint: we all need help on this.] His one tip that you implement today to improve your presentations surprised me.
  • intrinSIM and BeyondCAE announced a collaboration for helping engineering software firms go from technology to market.

JRV Symposium Wrap-Up

Z.J. Wang, organizer of June’s symposium Four Decades of CFD: Looking Back and Moving Forward, has written a brief overview of the event. The symposium honored the careers of CFD legends Antony Jameson, Phil Roe, and Bram van Leer.

Z.J.’s write-up includes links to many of the conference presentations and photos of the assembled group. [Some day “soon” I want to write-up my notes from the event.]

The guests of honor (front row), symposium organizers, and other guests at the JRV Symposium.

The guests of honor (front row), symposium organizers, and other guests at the JRV Symposium.

Everyone is Discretized

New media artists James Susinno and Mark J. Stock (aka Axes) emphasize the increasing digitalization of humankind with Everything is Made of Atoms. The installation consists of a Kinect for spatial imaging and a fluid simulation for effects that are displayed on a flat screen monitor with the result that the viewer can “interact” with their digital self.

To me it looks like mesh cells being shed from a discretized person.

Everything is Made of Atoms. Screen capture from artists' video. (Click to go to artists' website.)

Everything is Made of Atoms. Screen capture from artists’ video. (Click to go to artists’ website.)

 

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7 Responses to This Week in CFD

  1. John, love your teaser line on presentation skills… “His one tip that you implement today to improve your presentations surprised me.”… can I assume you found the tip a simple, yet useful surprise? Thanks, John, for the nice mention.

  2. John Chawner says:

    Thanks for commenting, Wayne. Yes, the surprise was one of “a-ha” and not one of “yuck.” I suppose I would’ve gone for the old standard “don’t read your slides” but I suppose a positive tip works better than a negative.

    To a certain degree, I think engineers are shackled by the advice handed down over the decades of “tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you’ve told them.” How much time have we all wasted looking a slide with bullet points that say “Problem Statement, Motivation, Deriving the Navier-Stokes Equations, Summary, Conclusions, Future Work.” I mean, c’mon – let’s get on with it.

  3. Mukul Rao says:

    Mr. Chawner, I found your comment very interesting….. ” How much time have we all wasted looking a slide with bullet points that say “Problem Statement, Motivation, Deriving the Navier-Stokes Equations, Summary, Conclusions, Future Work.” I mean, c’mon – let’s get on with it. ”

    I gave a presentation for a research symposium series at Purdue, and for the most part, my presentation (and several others too! ) was structured exactly like this. I had a big smile on my face when I read your post.

    Out of curiosity, I’d like your view on what makes a good presentation, especially one that deals with technical details.

  4. John Chawner says:

    Mukul, in my opinion (and that’s all it is) that structure is best used for the technical paper. It comes down to two things: who is your audience and what exactly is motivation for your presentation. It is very likely that the audience consists of engineers like yourself who already know the background information. So there is no need to repeat this information for them. And usually the motivation for a technical presentation is to demonstrate something new or different and therefore you should get right to that main point.

    I’m a fan of Edward Tufte’s work when it comes to presenting technical material. I think his opinions may be distilled down to a) the format of a presentation is a poor one for sharing details (that’s why we right the technical paper) and b) during a presentation the audience needs to focus on you instead of sitting there reading your slides. (And please, you should not stand there reading your own slides aloud.)

    As for your last question, a good presentation is one that motivates the audience to take some action even if that action is to simply feel informed or simply feel respect for you and your work. Other motivated actions might be to read your paper for the details, try to implement your work themselves, talk to you afterward, offer you a job, propose a collaboration, etc.

    Tufte has written 4 (or 5?) books various aspects of this subject and has a website. With a little googling you can get a much better idea of what I’m talking about.

  5. Mukul Rao says:

    Mr. Chawner, thanks for that wonderful input. I will definitely try out some of your suggestions. The conventional presentation format, more often than not, does fail to strike a chord with the audience. I’ve made that mistake a couple of times before, which is why I was smiling when I read your post. Reviewing panels (at least the ones I have come across), expect some structure in the presentation. Then again, if I interpreted your post right, you were of the opinion that a good presenter knows how to convey information without sacrificing structure, yet steps aside just enough from conventional over structured methods to keep the audience entertained.How much to step aside, depends on the audience.

  6. Andy B says:

    Mr. Chawner:
    I could not agree more – during presentations, there has to be a certain amount of interest in the actual PRESENTER, else, publish the powerpoint in a paper. Likely, those present are at your presentation because it offers something _other_ than a technical paper!

  7. John Chawner says:

    Thanks for your comment, Andy. But I caution against placing too much emphasis on the presenter over the material being presented. It’s the presenter’s job to make the material shine, not the other way around.

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