Purdue Creates Scientifically Based Animation of 9/11 Attack RRS feed

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  • An animated simulation of the attacks that toppled the towers of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, has been created by Purdue University researchers so that structural engineers can study the buildings' collapse in order that future disasters may be avoided. "Scientific simulations restrict us to showing the things that are absolutely essential to the engineer," explains Rosen Center for Advanced Computing director Christoph Hoffmann. "This gives us a simulation that doesn't deliver much visual information to a layperson. Our animation takes that scientific model and adds back the visual information required to make it a more effective communication tool." The new animated visualization owes a lot to computer science professor Voicu Popescu, who devised a translator application that establishes a connection between computer simulations and computer visualization systems to automatically render simulation information as a three-dimensional animated scene. The animation clearly represents elements, such as fire and smoke, that were not included in the scientific simulation, imbuing the computer model with a previously absent level of realism, according to Popescu. The visualization shows that most of the damage to the towers was caused by the weight of the fuel carried by the aircraft that slammed into the buildings, and not the aircraft themselves. The National Science Foundation partially funded the Purdue research
    Thursday, June 14, 2007 8:41 AM