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<HEAD><TITLE>Surface Evolver Documentation - Newsletter 5</title>
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<a   id="newsletter-5"></a>
<h1>Surface Evolver Newsletter no. 5</h1>
<a href="evolver.htm#doc-top">Back to top of Surface Evolver documentation.</a>
<hr><pre>


		      Surface Evolver Newsletter Number 5
			      July 28, 1993

                    Editor: Ken Brakke, brakke@geom.umn.edu

Contents:
  Positions available
  New features of version 1.92
  Parallelizing Evolver
  New printed manual

Positions available.

Two PhD research assistant positions available. Positions are NSF-funded and
will eventually contribute to a consortium between several national labs/
universities/microelectronics corporations. Looking for (1) Theoretically-
oriented student to do combined analytical/computational research on menisci
stability. Experience with Surface Evolver desirable (2) Experimentalist
to conduct research in reactive wetting involving liquid metals. Candidates
with applied mathematics, physics, engineering science backrounds encouraged to
submit resume/vita to Professor Timothy Singler, Dept. of Mechanical
Engineering, State University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, NY 13902-
6000, phone (607)-777-4330, E-mail Singler@bingvmb.cc.binghamton.edu.

New features

  New named quantity syntax.  See below.

  New named quantity methods:
    Edge, facet scalar integrands. Method names are "edge_scalar_integrand"
    and "facet_scalar_integrand". Both need scalar functions specified.
    Example for using a string model to simulate a surface of revolution:

    quantity rev_area energy global_method edge_scalar_integrand
    scalar_integrand: 2*pi*x

  "INFO_ONLY" quantities are not calculated until their values are
  needed.  This should speed up some calculations.

  "Fix" and "unfix" can be used as verbs, like list, delete, etc.
  I kept writing commands like 
     fix vertices where on_constraint 1
  instead of 
     set vertices fixed where on_constraint 1
  so I made it legal.

  The verbs set, unset, list, delete, refine, fix, unfix, dissolve
  can be used on single named elements inside an iteration construct.
  Example:
    foreach edge ee where ee.length &lt; .01 do {
       printf "Refining edge %g.\",ee.id; refine ee; }

  All toggle command words (not single letters) can be used as Boolean 
  variables in expressions.  Example: 
    if conj_grad then {g10; u; g10} else {g30; u; g30}

  There are more internal variables available as read-only
  values: space_dimension, surface_dimension, torus (Boolean),
  torus_filled (Boolean), symmetry_group (Boolean), 
  simplex_representation (Boolean), integration_order.

  Mac version repeated commands interruptable with control-'.'.

  Macintosh and Dos versions pipe to a file instead of a command:
    Enter command: list vertices | "filename"

  For a torus domain, the torus periods may be specified using
  expressions with parameters, so the fundamental cell may
  be changed interactively.  Do a "recalc" after changing
  such a parameter to update the torus periods.

  gv_binary toggle for binary/ascii data to geomview. Default ON
  for binary, which is faster.  Ascii mode useful for debugging.

Named quantities.

  As the Evolver has accumulated more and more types of energies,
it has become very obvious that adding each one in as a special
calculation is not a good way to go.  The system I've been
experimenting with I call "named quantities", and the energies
I've added lately have been in this system.  Gradually, all
energies, volumes, etc. will be converted internally, but
existing datafile and command syntax will remain valid (where
possible).  The system has changed somewhat since its inception,
necessitating a slight change of datafile syntax.  The system
has three components:
1) Methods: A method is a way of calculating a scalar value.
Each method is implemented as functions calculating its value
and gradient.  Methods are described in the manual, and have names.
2) Method instances: A method instance is a particular application
of a method, with any particular data such as scalar integrands
or parameters.  Method instances may be explicitly created, or 
may be implicitly created inside quantity definitions.
Explicitly created instances are given names by the user.
3) Quantities.  A quantity is the sum of method instances.
Quantities are given names by the user, and referred to that way.
A quantity may be part of the total energy, it may have a
fixed value, or it may be computed for information only.
Usually quantities have only one method instance, but there
are occasions where several might be used.  For example, in calculating
the volume of a body with free boundary on a wall, one might
combine a surface integral and an edge integral.

See the 1.92 manual for full details on methods, instances, and
quantities.  The syntax change mentioned above applies only to
quantities being applied to individual elements, not globally.
Now the method must be included in the quantity definition, and it
is sufficient to just list the quantity name on the lines of the
desired elements in the datafile.  For example, to sum the lengths 
of triple junction lines in a soap film,

   quantity triple_length energy method edge_length

and then each triple junction edge would look like

   edges
   1   1 2  triple_length

Adding the layer of method instances between methods and quantities
necessitated the change.


Parallelizing Evolver.

  Everybody knows that parallel computers are the wave of the future!
The past couple of months, I have started to dabble in parallelizing
the Evolver.  The only feature ready to announce is for multi-processor
Silicon Graphics systems.  If you compile with -DSGI_MULTI in CFLAGS
in the Makefile, then named quantity calculations will be farmed out
among the processors.  Note this only for named quantities, such
as edge_length and the knot energies, and not for ordinary length,
area, constraints, etc.  For knot energies, I have gotten a factor
of 3 speed-up on a 4-processor machine.  
  SGI parallelization is fairly simple, since all the processors
share the same memory.  On a more distributed machine like the
Connection Machine CM-5, each processor has its own memory, and
message passing has to be used to keep all the nodes updated.
So it looks like a port to the CM-5 will have to parcel out the
surface in patches to nodes, and each node will have to keep its
neighbors updated.  I am a neophyte at parallelization, and I would
like to hear from anybody who has a good algorithm for splitting
an Evolver-type mesh among nodes, maybe with load-balancing to take
into account that some nodes (such as those on constraints) take
more processing than others.


New printed manual.

  The Version 1.92 Manual is being printed up in hardcopy 
as Research Report GCG 55 of The Geometry Center. 
The last hardcopy version was 1.87.  Of course, the version
distributed with the ftp archive is always current.

End of Evolver Newsletter 5

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