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REPORT: 10th International Meshing Roundtable
Posted Fri October 26, 2001 @02:51PM
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Grid Generation John Chawner, IMR Steering Committee

Over one hundred mesh generation researchers and software developers from around the world met in Newport Beach, California when the International Meshing Roundtable celebrated its tenth anniversary on 07-10 October 2001. This year's roundtable featured five short courses, thirty-six technical papers (including the keynote and three invited talks), and the crowd pleasing Poster (from which the annual "Meshing Maestro" is chosen), Birds of a Feather, and Panel sessions.


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Short Courses

Dr. Steven Owen of Sandia National Laboratories continued his tradition of leading the course "Introduction to Unstructured Mesh Generation". This year's course was split into two sessions. The "Algorithms" session covered tri and tet meshing by Delaunay, advancing front, and octree methods; quad and hex meshing by medial axis, paving, q-morph, sub-mapping, plastering, sweeping, and whisker weaving methods; and mixed element methods. The "Real World Meshing" session covered advanced topics such as geometry models, smoothing, mesh topology improvements via edge flipping and tranformations, and mesh sizing criteria.

Dr. Peter Schroeder of the California Institute of Technology offered a course on Digital Geometry Processing from the viewpoint of computer graphics.

"Global Optimization of Mesh Quality" was led by Dr. David Eppstein of the University of California, Irvine. His course covered issues mostly relating to Delaunay-generated meshes including connectivity optimization, global point placement, and individual point placement (for sliver exudation).

The last course of the day was Dr. Stephen Vavasis' "Optimality and Guaranteed Quality in Isoparametric Mesh Generation". Dr. Vavasis (Cornell University) presented mesh quality results for higher order finite elements.

Technical Program

Mr. Jim Rusk, Vice President of Digital Validation Solutions for EDS' PLM Solutions (EDS Product Lifecycle Management Solutions is the business entity resulting from the acquisition of SDRC by UGS and the subsequent consolidation of UGS under the EDS name) kicked off the technical program with his keynote presentation on how meshing and simulation fit into the much larger picture of product lifecycle management. Issues such as automation, just-in-time meshing, data archiving, and geometry abstraction are seen as important to meshing within a digital enterprise.

Invited talks were also given by Drs. Andreas Fabri and Timothy Baker. Dr. Fabri (INRIA) presented an overview of the CGAL Project (www.cgal.org), a European collaborative effort to develop a library of computational geometry software exhibiting robustness, efficiency, and flexibility. The software, implemented in C++ and featuring generic programming via the STL (Standard Template Library) and "exact" computing, has now reached a stable phase and is being used in teaching, in CG research, and in endeavors as diverse as collision detection in computer games and geological modeling. A transition to an open source model is being considered as is the beginning of commercially available CGAL support.

Dr. Baker's presentation on "Mesh Movement and Metamorphosis" delved into mesh adaption for time evolving domains including enrichment, coarsening, and stretching (r-refinement) as required. Enrichment is required when the local length scale exceeds the length density function derived from the boundary length scales. Coarsening is currently implemented via edge collapsing. Maintaining mesh quality is paramount for successful implementation of the entire process and was demonstrated with video displays of a 3D mesh of the human heart muscle in motion.

The remaining technical presentations ran the gamut of subjects including surface meshing (9), volume meshing (11), geometry (5), mesh quality (3), and software issues & applications (7). The bound proceedings are available from Sandia National Labs (publication SAND 2001-2976C).

Winning Posters

The highlight of every IMR is the Poster Session from which three award winners are chosen annually: Meshing Maestro, Best Technical Poster, and Best Student Poster. The Meshing Maestro is chosen from the ballots cast by all of the conference attendees and represents the "best looking mesh". This year's winning mesh, by Ted Blacker from Fluent, will be featured on next year's conference t-shirt. Dr. Blacker also was awarded the Best Technical Poster award. Mike Borden from BYU was awarded Best Student Poster.

Birds and Panels

The two most lively sessions of each IMR are the Birds of a Feather (BOF) and Panel Sessions. The BOF Session brings together researchers with a common interest in a meshing subtopic to assess recent progress, current state of the art, and open issues within their speciality. This year's BOFs included surface meshing, volume meshing, mesh quality, geometry issues, and software issues. The complete BOF summaries will soon be presented on the IMR web site. Some of the interesting problems needing a solution are surface mesh reconstruction from sampling, re-parametrization of surface meshes, dynamic meshes, surface adjustments from hex and tet meshing, adaption, and a posteriori quality metrics.

The Panel Session began with a brief introduction to NAFEMS, the International Association for the Engineering Analysis Community given by Prof. Cecil Armstrong, a member of the CAD/FEA Integration committee. NAFEMS' goals to create awareness, deliver training, and stimulate standards may serve as a foundation between the FEA and meshing communities to meet the challenges faced by this technology.

The Roundtable ended with a panel discussion of two "hot" topics within the meshing community: "What Makes a Mesh Good?" and "What's the Future of Geometry?: NURBs or Faceted Models." The panelists included Cecil Armstrong (Queen's University of Belfast), Gordon Ferguson (Visual Kinematics), Pat Knupp (Sandia), Peter Schroeder (Caltech), Tim Tautges (Sandia), and Steve Vavasis (Cornell). The "good mesh" topic got things off to a good start by making clear that although a posterior quality improvement via adaption would be best, a priori quality metrics are needed now simply because adaption isn't ready for prime time. So while it is apparent that work in the area of adaption is required, no consensus was reached with respect to the use of a priori quality metrics with the exception of guidelines for ensuring that metrics are well-formed.

On the other hand, the "future of geometry" drew a near consensus from the panel: faceted geometry will coexist with NURB geometry in the near future due to its advantages in terms of simplicity and flexbility. Faceted geometry also allows the meshing community to leverage its existing technology for working with discrete data. Peter Schroeder went further by predicting that faceted models will do to NURB models what the PC did to Unix workstations. Some drawbacks of faceted models were identified, though, including their relatively heavy "weight" and the lack of data standards for facets.

More Information

More information on the 10th International Meshing Roundtable can be found on the conference web site at http://www.imr.sandia.gov/. Watch this web site for news on the IMR for 2002.

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