I’m Michael Honke and This Is How I Mesh

I’m a Canadian masters student interning at Pointwise from the University of Waterloo. My current research is on ferrofluid simulation. I did a BSc in Physics as my undergrad degree at the University of Winnipeg where I studied EM simulation. My interest in simulation started as a kid playing various tycoon and city simulation games. Combining this with an interest in physics naturally led to an interest in physical simulation. The idea of taking something real from our world, creating a model and having full control of it to study is fascinating. While working on my masters, I’ve repeatedly encountered meshes and became interested in their use for simulation. They also spawn an endless amount of math and computer science problems to be solved!

  • Location: Fort Worth, TX
  • Current position: Scientific Technologist
  • Current computer: Intel Xeon Quad Core @ 3.50 GHz, 32.0 GB, Windows 10
  • One word that best describes how you work: Determinedly

What software or tools do you use every day?

Pointwise of course! It’s good to use the software you develop! I’m using Visual Studio as my full IDE and Notepad++ as a light text editor. Spyder for all my Python needs. I use Putty / VNC Viewer to test on remote Linux and Mac machines. Windows Powershell for my local command-line. Besides that, Perforce for development collaboration, and lastly Outlook and Chrome.

What does your workspace look like?

Like my hard drive, I could always use more space.

What do you see are the biggest challenges facing CFD in the next 5 years?

My background before Pointwise has been mostly in world of CFD for film. Being exposed to the world of aerospace CFD meshing my first thought was “wow this is an elaborate mesh!” and then “this must have taken someone a long time to build.” Increasing the automation of both the meshing and the simulation process seems important.

What are you currently working on?

I’m starting work on implementing a massively parallelized graph coloring algorithm (see figure below). Hopefully I’ll see a decent speed up compared to the existing implementation. I’ve also been working on updating all of Pointwise’s grid import plugins to support boundary and volume conditions.

What would you say is your meshing specialty?

Right now, I’d say I specialize in learning about meshes.

Any tips for our users?

Work through the entire tutorial workbook! You’ll have a pretty good idea how to use the software after that. Also make use of the undo feature and just try different settings and see how they affect the mesh.

What project are you most proud of and why?

A golf physics simulator that two of my friends and I developed as part of the 48 hour University Physics Competition. We managed to model the process including the club face – ball impact, flight, and then landing and roll. The problem was to find the initial parameters to hit the ball around a tree and to the hole! I’ve developed more simulation software since, but I’m proud of what we managed to do in two days, with little sleep and less than healthy meal choices.

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

Ümit V. Çatalyürek, John Feo, Assefaw H. Gebremedhin, Mahantesh Halappanavar, Alex Pothen, “Graph coloring algorithms for multi-core and massively multithreaded architectures,” Parallel Computing, Volume 38, Issues 10–11, 2012, Pages 576-594

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

Usually cycling. Mainly road and mountain biking with an occasional race. I’m an active person so I cycle to work, and then usually ride on the weekends and evenings as well. I also enjoy doing autocross competitions and other performance driving events.

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

Always test and develop for 2D first before going to 3D (if the physics allow for it).

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

Bistro Dansk in Winnipeg, Manitoba has the best schnitzel I’ve ever had. Enormous portions and a cozy environment. I love heaping quantities of tasty unpretentious food.

About Travis Carrigan

A Pointwise engineer helping other engineers solve their meshing problems.
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