I’m Claudio Pita and This Is How I Mesh

Claudio Pita, Senior Engineer on the Technical Support Team.

Claudio Pita, Senior Engineer on the Technical Support Team.

One of my favorite series on Lifehacker is called How I Work. In this series, the team interviews people from around the world to learn about the tools and techniques they use to get through the day. We decided to try something similar with the Pointwise staff and over the next year will share with you how we work.

Let’s kick off this series with Dr. Claudio Pita. Claudio joined Pointwise as a senior engineer on the Applied Research Team in September 2010 after completing a year-long term as Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT. In 2013, he joined the Technical Support Team. Dr. Pita earned a B.S. and an M.S. in Nuclear Engineering from the Instituto Balseiro in Argentina and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Mississippi State University. His Ph.D. research involved “Modeling of oxide bifilms in aluminum castings using the Immersed Element-Free Galerkin Method.”

  • Location: Fort Worth, TX
  • Current position: Senior Engineer – Technical Support Team
  • Current computer: Windows 7, Intel Xeon CPU W3505 2.53GHz, 24GB RAM
  • One word that best describes how you work: Focused

What software or tools do you use every day?

As a part of the Technical Support team, I use a variety of tools to ensure our customers receive unmatched support. With that in mind, I use Pointwise and Gridgen every day. Not only am I using these tools to field support requests, but also to generate grids for workshops and conferences.

Our customers can contact us in a number of different ways. These days most requests arrive via email, so I use Outlook as an email client. On my Windows machine Outlook and our CRM software, Sage, can talk seamlessly making it easy to keep track of feature requests, bugs, and general communications.

One of the areas we are all responsible for on the Technical Support team is documentation. When a new feature is released or a bug is fixed, it must be documented. I use Corel PaintShop Pro and FrameMaker to help create our PDF documents shipped with every copy of our software.

What are you currently working on?

Support is my first priority, so I’m first and foremost fielding customer requests. All of our customers are working on different applications, so the work is varied. In the morning I may be helping a customer mesh the wing tip of an aircraft and by the afternoon I’m meshing the passage of a pump. Also, because our software can be automated, I actively develop Glyph scripts for either complete applications or to automate tedious tasks.

As far as specific projects I’m currently working on, one is a grid for the DrivAer geometry. The grid is a viscous hybrid grid and we are working with a partner to perform shape optimization to improve the baseline model’s performance. We will be presenting this work at the upcoming 10th OpenFOAM Workshop. I’m also participating in the Sonic Boom Prediction Workshop hosted by AIAA by generating grids for their test cases.

What would you say is your meshing specialty?

Having worked in Pointwise’s Applied Research team prior to transferring to Technical Support, I did a lot of development work. Therefore, it was relatively easy to get started with Glyph scripting. Not a lot of people know how powerful Glyph can be. I like to help our customers realize the power of Glyph by writing scripts to either automate their entire meshing process or save them time by writing utility scripts. My editor of choice would have to be Emacs.

Do you have any Glyph scripting tips?

I would like to encourage customers who are thinking about writing their first Glyph script to review the Glyph resources that Pointwise has available. These materials will help them get over the learning curve and ahead of the game quickly and efficiently. Here is a list of the available resources:

  • Glyph Scripting Introductory Video

Here we present a basic introduction to scripting in Pointwise and lay the framework for customization of the meshing process through scripts. Scripting in Pointwise is accomplished with Glyph, an extension of Tcl. You can find this video here: http://www.pointwise.com/videos/Intro-to-Scripting/

  • Glyph Reference Manual

This manual is very useful and will teach you the best practices to be implemented in your own Glyph script. You can find this document in Help, Glyph Reference Manual.

  • Glyph Manual Pages

This manual presents a description of every Glyph function we support. Please note that you can find a particular function either by name (About, Functions) or by type by expanding the appropriate Glyph type (e.g. pw::Layer in General Types). This manual is located in Help, Glyph Manual Pages.

  • Re-Entry Vehicle Tutorial

Even if this particular tutorial does not work a problem similar to yours (3-D unstructured volume meshing around the wing), it is a very useful resource that will teach you basic Glyph programming logic before you start writing your own script. This tutorial will also show you the “best Glyph practices” presented in the Glyph Reference Manual in an actual script. You can find this tutorial in Help, Tutorial Workbook (the last tutorial).

  • GitHub

Pointwise has a library of Glyph scripts available on GitHub (a web-based version of the Git revision control system). Here you will find a wide variety of very useful Glyph scripts that you can use as templates or for reference.

  • Glyph Training Courses

You are more than welcome to attend one of our Glyph scripting training courses. Please note that our courses are free of charge to current customers (you would only have to travel to our offices in Fort Worth, TX). You can find the schedule for the upcoming classes here: http://www.pointwise.com/support/train.shtml.

  • Technical Support

Always keep in mind that you can contact us at support@pointwise.com if you need some help to resolve any issues you may encounter either with a Glyph script or a mesh generation project.

What project are you most proud of and why?

The grid I generated for the Sonic Boom Prediction Workshop. This case gave me an opportunity to work on a complete mesh that will be used to run some very interesting CFD simulations, hopefully to be presented at the workshop and compared with experimental data.

What CFD solver and postprocessor do you use most often?

Working at a grid generation company doesn’t leave me with too much time to run complete CFD simulations. That being said, I do get to use a variety of solvers to test any issues that are reported by our customers. When I have to postprocess data or look at our grids and solutions simultaneously, I’ll resort to using either Tecplot or ParaView.

Are you reading any interesting technical papers we should know about?

Since I’m working on assembling a grid for the DrivAer model proposed by the Institute of Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics at the Technische Universität München, I’ve been reading Experimental and Numerical Investigation of the DrivAer Model by Angelina Heft.

Do you plan on attending any conferences or workshops this year?

I will bring the work I’ve been doing with the DrivAer model to the 10th OpenFOAM Workshop to be held this summer in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Tell us about what you do when you’re not generating meshes?

When I’m not generating grids I’m taking care of my kids. Beyond that, it’s church, exercise, and woodworking in that order.

If you had to pick a place to have dinner, where would you go?

In Fort Worth, Texas de Brazil. Moving south, in Houston, Tango & Malbec. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, my home country, I’d pick Los Inmortales. I like a good slow cooked well done steak…not burned…slow cooked.

About Travis Carrigan

A Pointwise engineer helping other engineers solve their meshing problems.
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10 Responses to I’m Claudio Pita and This Is How I Mesh

  1. jdrch says:

    Excellent writeup. It’s nice to have a counterpart to the Lifehacker series in which everyone works from a MacBook Air and iPhone 6. I’ve got Claudio beat on RAM & OS (32 GB & Windows 8.1, respectively). I used to like Emacs, but Notepad++ is my current favorite.

  2. John Chawner says:

    Judah, I’m not certain that I’d say that Win 8 “beats” Win 7. And with all due respect, vim is what the cool kids use.

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