I’m David Garlisch and This Is How I Mesh

David Garlisch, Senior Engineer on the Product Development Team.

David Garlisch, Senior Engineer on the Product Development Team.

I am one of the software developers here at Pointwise. I wouldn’t dare call myself a mesher. However, I dabble enough to get the software job done. Without giving an exact date, I was born in the West suburbs of Chicago long enough ago to watch the first lunar landing on TV with my family and to see the Sears Tower being built in Chicago, twenty miles away, from the top of my friend Rob’s very tall tree. Rob and I, along with other kids in the neighborhood, were always working on some sort of project. These projects included, among others, building a point-to-point light-beam communicator, water balloon land mines (yes, plural, sorry Mike), tennis ball cannons, a Radio Flyer Wagon powered by an electric starter motor, and many tissue paper hot air balloons (our largest balloon reached the second story window of my house). You might say I was destined to be an engineer from a very young age.

It really happened.

It really happened.

My first exposure to anything software related was when my older brother started bringing home teletype printouts from high school with a strange writing on them. I had discovered the BASIC language. I couldn’t wait to get to high school so I would have access to the powerful Digital PDP8/e computer awaiting me there. It had a full 16K of RAM and used punch tapes/cards to save and load programs! In no time, I was cranking out my first programs.

After high school, I attended and graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana with a B.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. Why not software you ask? At the time, software was just a hobby. My first love was airplanes and rockets. My goal was to become an astronaut.

My first job after graduating college was at General Dynamics of Fort Worth, Texas (now Lockheed). Over time I found myself doing more and more software development to help with my engineering tasks. I soon realized that software development was where I really wanted to be. A few software jobs (and many years) later, I was fortunate enough to be offered a position at Pointwise where I could write software for the engineering community! I was now working at a company founded, run, and managed by engineers. I couldn’t ask for anything better.

  • Location: Fort Worth, TX
  • Current position: Senior Engineer
  • Current computer: Windows 8.1 Workstation, Intel Xeon E5-1607 3GHz x 4, 16GB, Dual Monitors (SyncMaster 2333SW 1920×1080 + Dell 2005FPW 1680×1050), Nvidia Quadro K600
  • One word that best describes how you work: Obsessively

What software or tools do you use every day?

By far, I spend the majority of my time using Microsoft Visual Studio for writing, testing, and debugging Pointwise. Beyond that, I use Cygwin to provide unix-like functionality on my Windows workstation and to access the other Pointwise build platforms on our network. For source control, I use Perforce. And for distributed builds, I use IncrediBuild. Of course, there is the smattering of other tools that most coders rely on such as Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Word, and Google Chrome.

What does your workspace look like?

David's current workspace.

David’s current workspace.

I have a desk in our downstairs offices where I am surrounded by my colleagues and my personal collection of nicknacks. The three leather juggling balls are my favorite distraction. My desktop is sort of a controlled mess. I don’t have the best “organizational” skills, so I tend to keep my most recently used documents close at hand in neat little piles. I also have a collection of magazines that are supposed to route through our offices. Strangely, they take a long time to make it past my desk.

What are you currently working on?

You never know from day to day what task might drop into your lap. It might be a new bug. It might be a question escalated from our support team. For the most part, I work mainly on fixing bugs and implementing new features. My tasks usually involve the CAD reader, CAE export, or the CAE plugin SDK. We are currently working on the next major release of Pointwise. This entails working with those who are writing the new feature requirements (REQ) to iron out a feature’s capabilities. When approved, the REQ is followed by the technical specs that detail how the feature will be implemented.

What would you say is your meshing specialty?

I wouldn’t say I have a meshing specialty. However, my work here as a developer has made me very proficient in dealing with the interchange of grid information between Pointwise and other applications.

Any tips for our users?

If your CFD process involves translating a grid exported from Pointwise into some other format needed by your downstream applications, you should take a serious look at the Pointwise CAE Exporter Plugin SDK. Creating a custom plugin will give you full control over the grid data exported from Pointwise and eliminate the extra translation step. Don’t hesitate to contact Pointwise support if you have questions about or need help with the CAE Plugin SDK or anything Pointwise.

What project are you most proud of and why?

There are two of them. The first project would be the CAE Plugin SDK. Even though at the time I was relatively new to the CFD software world, Pointwise gave me the opportunity to design and implement the CAE Plugin SDK. Even though the SDK is a small piece of the extensive Pointwise tool set, it provides a powerful capability to our end users.

The second project would be the Pointwise native CAD reader. In this task, I was able to leverage my previous experience to integrate a third-party CAD reader package (Coretech 3D Kernel_IO) into Pointwise. This gave our end users the powerful ability to import CAD data from many different native CAD file formats.

What CFD solver and postprocessor do you use most often?

That would be a resounding none! Being a developer, I do not have a need to run solvers or post processors. However, when writing a new grid or CAE exporter, I do get the opportunity to use various solvers and post processors to validate the grid data files exported from Pointwise.

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

None at this time. However, I am constantly reading web based technical articles concerning C++ coding, algorithms, and other application development. As far as personal interests go, most of my reading involves U.S. politics. I find it fascinating! I am currently reading The Federalist Papers and a Plunder and Deceit by Mark Levin

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

Earlier this year, I attended AIAA’s Aviation 2015 conference in Dallas, Texas. I have nothing else scheduled at this time. However, that could change. There are a few months left to go!

What do you do when you’re not generating meshes?

These days, my wife and I are empty nesters. When my wife is not busy caring for the ever changing gaggle of rescued baby squirrels, our three cats, and one guinea pig, we are hanging out with friends at a local restaurant bar. In between, I dabble in woodworking, work on various software side projects, and learn new-to-me technologies. My current project is setting up a MythTV backend and multiple frontend DVRs so we can finally “cut the cable” and its outrageous cost. Does anyone know the proper xorg.conf settings for a Panasonic TC-P50S1 plasma TV?

RaspberryPi2 running the MythTV backend, Powerstrip, 5 port switch, two HDHomerun units, and a 5TB usb3 drive.

RaspberryPi2 running the MythTV backend, powerstrip, 5 port switch, two HDHomerun units, and a 5TB usb3 drive.

What is some of the best CFD advice you’ve ever received?

Garbage grid equals garbage results – Author Unknown

CFD solutions are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.  ~with apologies to Aaron Levenstein

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

When it comes to Tex-Mex, I would pick my favorite hangout of course; Mexican Inn of Burleson, Texas! Also on the short list; Outback Steakhouse, Axiom Sushi, and Joe’s Crab Shack.

About Travis Carrigan

A Pointwise engineer helping other engineers solve their meshing problems.
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