Bringing CSVs to life

"to be understood, graphs must be read"

For all the criticism leveled at Infographics and other tools that reduce text to images, there are numerous situations where the graphic form is invaluable. View this 7 minute video for an outline on how you can visualize and analyze tabular data using Tecplot. Stuck with a stubborn set of data? Reach out for support!

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Automatic Distribution Functions

"many applications in the construction of finite-difference grids"

The tanh function has long been the most used distribution function in Pointwise for reasons outlined in this seminal paper. But there’s a new function in town: one that is better suited for the relatively recent capabilities like proximity based refinement and the size field. With Flashpoint the automatic distribution function now does a lot of the work behind the scenes. All the older functions continue to be available, of course.

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CAD: neat, but imprecise

"the biggest drawback of contemporary 3D modelers today is ..."

40 years after NURBS were included in IGES is the perfect time to start a series on the different ways to deal with the imprecision inherent in CAD. This recap of terminology points out that “[c]alculations with NURBS … are numerically stable” and yet “some fundamental algorithms … are numerically unstable”. Don’t miss this interview with Ken Versprille that points out the importance for interfaces that do not “require the [user] be versed in all the intricacies of the mathematics”.

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Lost in Translation?

"this is and will always be a user's decision"

It’s been a while since this article referred to “lethal diseases to any business whether big or small” but many of the issues discussed therein persist even today. Why these occur, what programmers can do to address them, and the forks in those roads are nicely discussed in this tech note which covers a lot of ground. It’s also a lesson in how to be both comprehensive and comprehensible in 662 words.

And that’s also it for 2020: the next issue, in January 2021, will pick up with the promised topics on distribution funtions, digesting CSVs, and more.

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ODEs in CAD

"intersection calculation gets challenging"

“Much research remains to be done”, observe the authors of this paper on one of the many numerical problems that CAD serves up to CAE. That is as true today as it was in 2004, when that paper was published. It is well worth reading in full (go here if you prefer information in bullet points): CFD analysts will empathize with aspects such as “step size selection becomes complex and incorrect step size may lead to a critical problem“. This article is slightly less scholarly, but covers more ground.

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Visualizing Higher Order Surface Elements

"Bruce Irons, in 1968, Revolutionized the Finite Element Method"

A technique that has been around for a while poses, as noted in earlier updates (such as this one) still poses several challenges for visualization. See this article for some internals on how Tecplot approaches the problem. As the article concludes, more will be explained in subsequent post(s)!

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Is Pointwise Parallel?

"Hammers don't build houses - craftspeople do"

This article presents a programmer’s view of the nuances involved in answering that seemingly simple question. Keep any eye on your CPU usage the next time you perform a time-consuming tasks on Pointwise to see how Pointwise uses the specialized tool, rather than the raw horsepower. And if you want to limit the number of threads Pointwise can use, this page of the User Manual explains how to use the parameter tbbinit.

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Counting cells using Integrals

"integration and summation share a very close relationship"

Tecplot’s Analyze menu allows you to integrate all manner of variables. What’s sometimes forgotten is that you can use this to count items too. As illustrated in this article, integration is a good way to count cells based on any criterion you want. The example uses the blanked / unblanked status, but it’s easiy extended to other options.

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Drawing back the curtain on CAD

"We have no appreciation for the hard work that goes into modern life"

The observation that “[t]he single greatest cause of poor reliability of CAD systems is lack of topologically consistent surface intersection algorithms” dates back to 1999. Intersections, in turn, depend on trimming, as discussed here. Add programming intricacies and it’s no wonder it’s a mess. Intractable? Yes. Insoluble? Perhaps not.

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Solver-specific quality checks

"We know embarrassingly little about how the mesh affects the CFD solution"

This article about a workshop on mesh quality provides a good basis for a probem anaysts often face: once you’ve arrived at a set of metrics that work well for your solver / physics / domain, can you ask Pointwise to check your mesh against these? This Glyph script can serve as a good starting point. Use it to create a text file listing the metrics you are interested in and their preferred values – the script reports pass/fail status of selected grid entities.

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