I received a BS in Aerospace Engineering and an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University. My graduate work focused on the use of CFD for the prediction of rotordynamic stability of turbomachinery. My first job out of school was with Advanced Scientific Computing in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada where I learned the commercial CFD industry firsthand from some very talented people. Applications work at ASC lead me into graphical mesh generation development (at the time structured mesh generation involved a lot of manual programming). From there, joining Pointwise in 1998 was a natural step.
- Location: East Texas
- Current position: Director, Applied Research
- Current computer: Dual Intel i7 6-core CPU, 64GB RAM, MS Windows 7 and Dual Intel CPU, 4GB RAM, Fedora Linux
- One word that best describes how you work: Freely (as in speech, not as in beer). A luxury of moving from the Development group, who must remain focused on the next software release cycle, to the Applied Research group where we are free to try new things to see if we can make them work.
What software or tools do you use every day?
Visual Studio development environment, Perforce source control, Intel VTune profiler.
What are you currently working on?
Improvement of structured, unstructured and hybrid meshing. Most recently, mesh adaptation to improve overset grid assembly quality.
What would you say is your meshing specialty?
I definitely feel most at home creating meshes for turbomachinery. Early lessons learned are the most indelible.
Any tips for our users?
Don’t settle for a crummy mesh. In the rush to move on to the solution phase of simulation, the temptation is to overlook problem areas in the mesh. In my experience, you will only find yourself returning to correct mesh issues at a later date (and after much wasted effort).
What project are you most proud of and why?
The grids I can’t talk about. Seriously, as with many of our customers, I can’t show my best work. Also, while our meshing application is the result of hard work by many people, I am proud to see what is accomplished by others when using it.
What CFD solver and postprocessor do you use most often?
Sadly I almost never perform full simulations anymore. I do utilize several freeware tools to investigate the internal data structures of our algorithms. Recently, I’ve been using ParaView (http://www.paraview.org/) for data analysis.
Are you reading any interesting technical papers we should know about?
Lately I’ve been learning about the Department of Energy’s Atmosphere to Electrons (http://energy.gov/eere/wind/atmosphere-electrons) initiative in wind power. The range of the problem is quite intense – from atmospheric boundary layer to blade scale fluid dynamics. I’ve been reading papers regarding the coupling of multiple simulation technologies to tackle the problem. For example, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s SOWFA software (https://nwtc.nrel.gov/SOWFA).
Do you plan on attending any conferences or workshops this year?
I have a presentation planned for the MeshTrends Symposium at the 13th US National Congress on Computational Mechanics. I will also attend the AIAA Aviation Conference in Dallas.
What do you do when you’re not generating meshes?
We have two boys who are avid baseball players which makes my wife and I avid baseball parents. Most weekends you will find me at a ballpark somewhere in Texas.
If you had to pick a place to have dinner, where would you go?
At one time I was making semi-annual trips to Winterthur, Switzerland and became acquainted with the wiener schnitzel at the Gasthaus Rössli. I haven’t been there in years, but I still recall the meal fondly.
Is this the place Nick?
Nick worked on a structured grid recently that was the most complex I’ve ever seen. It was done as a project for a customer who cannot be named but they were quite pleased with the result. Plus it was a very cool CFD application which adds to its appeal.
This is the 2nd “How I Work” PC featuring Windows 7. You realize Windows 8.1+ uses less RAM and is faster, right? 😉
That said, was ASC eventually acquired by ANSYS? I met a few ANSYS employees from the same location in 2012.
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