This Week in CFD


  • Meshing and preprocessing [Are they the same thing? Does pre- include meshing?] are a big part of the free, no-registration report from Tech Clarity on Addressing the Bottlenecks of FEA Simulation.
    • Pre-processing is the largest time component of simulation, requiring 38%. [Which is better than the oft-quoted 75% for CFD.]
    • The best practices of high performers in this area include prioritizing automation while retaining control.
  • Vox wrote about the seven biggest problems facing science. “[Scientists’] careers are being hijacked by perverse incentives.”  #4 Peer review is broken. [I’ll be interested to read your thoughts on this topic in the comments.]
Gratuitous mesh image.

Gratuitous mesh image.

Pointwise News

Applications & Events


  • Autodesk is offering a technology preview of Project Calrissian for CFD, a mashup of Autodesk Flow Design and Project Ventus for CFD.
  • Beta CAE announced v17.0.0 of their software suite.
  • Those of us who program/programmed for a living will probably enjoy looking at the source code from the Apollo 11 guidance computer.

Finding Meshes in Art IRL

There’s nothing like viewing great works of art with your own eyes. And it’s a bonus when you [OK, when I] can find meshes in them. That’s exactly what happened yesterday when I toured The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth with two visiting CFD luminaries. (Yes, there are more CFDers than just me who appreciate modern and contemporary art.) We were there primarily for the Frank Stella Retrospective but also explored the museum’s permanent collection on the second floor.

Stella’s more recent work involves CAD software and 3D printing which means that I might be able to have a quasi-intelligent conversation with him about his process. (Unlike paint on canvas about which I know vastly less.) What’s shown below is a detailed view of one of Stella’s painting/collages that incorporates a lot of mesh-like components.

Frank Stella, close-up detail. (I forgot the name of the work.)

Frank Stella, close-up detail. (I forgot the name of the painting.)

The Modern’s collection includes a massive work by Mark Bradford who, like another favorite painter of mine Callum Innes, uses a reductive technique. Whereas Innes uses turpentine or something similar to remove paint, Bradford uses a sander to carve down into layers of material he previously applied.

Mark Bradford, close-up detail. (I forgot the name of the painting.)

Mark Bradford, close-up detail. (I forgot the name of the painting.)

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4 Responses to This Week in CFD

  1. Tim Tautges says:

    On Vox’s biggest issues facing science, and peer review in particular, they state that research has shown that “peer review doesn’t reliably prevent poor-quality science from being published”. I assert that even a well-executed peer review process *itself* is unlikely to catch this either; it’s the meta-process of the practice of science that will catch this, and does catch this in important cases. I think other problems with peer review (timeliness, not knowing what the significant papers are) are derived problems, derived from having too many people trying to do original research in the first place. That problem attracts and rewards those who are good at disguising things as original research, rather than those who do actual original research. The problems with peer review derive directly from that.

    • John Chawner says:

      Thanks, Tim. My own personal experience also shows that peer review doesn’t prevent poor work from being published. Of course, the really bad stuff is obvious and gets rejected. But distinguishing the really good from the rest of the pack is hard. (Like in meshing – it’s easy to identify a bad mesh, harder to identify a good one.)

  2. Flow Joe says:

    Frank Stella, “Das Erdbeben in Chili [N#3]” (1999), acrylic on canvas, 144 x 486 inches.

    Mark Bradford, “Kingdom Day” (2010), mixed media collage on canvas, 120 x 480 inches.

    • John Chawner says:

      Thank you. Some day I’ll remember to also photograph the placard next to the painting. You’d think I’d know the name of the Bradford by now for as many times as I’ve seen it.

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