Visualizing Arbitrary Basis Functions for Advanced Engineering Analysis and Simulation

Kitware, Inc. has won a Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project to address the lack of visualization technology for advanced engineering simulation tools. Such tools routinely depend on interpolation and approximation (basis) functions for a variety of purposes, including modeling geometry via CAD/CAM tools, or for computational techniques such as the finite element method. What distinguishes advanced tools from earlier, less sophisticated tools is their dependence on higher-order basis functions, as compared to the linear functions typical of early tools.

While modern simulation tools have moved to more sophisticated basis functions, visualization technology has lagged behind. This technology plays a vital role in understanding, communicating and steering computational design, but has not moved beyond supporting linear basis functions, with a few special exceptions (e.g., quadratic). This situation poses a significant problem for engineering computation, since advanced techniques of high accuracy are coupled with lower-accuracy display of results. Such an approach is error prone, and introduces significant penalties in terms of time and computer resources required.

Kitware, Inc. is a leading software development company providing products and services in the areas of medical image analysis, visualization and 3D graphics, supercomputing, computer vision, open publication, and software quality process. Kitware is known for its advanced open source software tools such as the widely used Visualization Toolkit (VTK), Insight Segmentation and Registration Toolkit (ITK), and the CMake build management software. Established in 1998, Kitware is rapidly growing to support top research and development clients around the world; including such prestigious customers as the US National Labs (Sandia, Los Alamos, Livermore, and Argonne), the National Institutes of Health, the Army and Air Force Research labs, and a variety of academic, commercial and governmental research labs. Our commercial customers range from Fortune 500 oil and gas companies to small medical imaging start ups.

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