Designed especially for neurobiologists, FluoRender is an interactive tool for multi-channel fluorescence microscopy data visualization and analysis.
Large scale visualization on the Powerwall.
BrainStimulator is a set of networks that are used in SCIRun to perform simulations of brain stimulation such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and magnetic transcranial stimulation (TMS).
Developing software tools for science has always been a central vision of the SCI Institute.

Scientific Computing

Numerical simulation of real-world phenomena provides fertile ground for building interdisciplinary relationships. The SCI Institute has a long tradition of building these relationships in a win-win fashion – a win for the theoretical and algorithmic development of numerical modeling and simulation techniques and a win for the discipline-specific science of interest. High-order and adaptive methods, uncertainty quantification, complexity analysis, and parallelization are just some of the topics being investigated by SCI faculty. These areas of computing are being applied to a wide variety of engineering applications ranging from fluid mechanics and solid mechanics to bioelectricity.


martin

Martin Berzins

Parallel Computing
GPUs
mike

Mike Kirby

Finite Element Methods
Uncertainty Quantification
GPUs
pascucci

Valerio Pascucci

Scientific Data Management
chris

Chris Johnson

Problem Solving Environments
ross

Ross Whitaker

GPUs
chuck

Chuck Hansen

GPUs
       

Scientific Computing Project Sites:


Publications in Scientific Computing:


Distortion-Guided Structure-Driven Interactive Exploration of High-Dimensional Data
S. Liu, Bei Wang, P.-T. Bremer, V. Pascucci. In Computer Graphics Forum, Vol. 33, No. 3, Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 101--110. June, 2014.

Dimension reduction techniques are essential for feature selection and feature extraction of complex high-dimensional data. These techniques, which construct low-dimensional representations of data, are typically geometrically motivated, computationally efficient and approximately preserve certain structural properties of the data. However, they are often used as black box solutions in data exploration and their results can be difficult to interpret. To assess the quality of these results, quality measures, such as co-ranking [ LV09 ], have been proposed to quantify structural distortions that occur between high-dimensional and low-dimensional data representations. Such measures could be evaluated and visualized point-wise to further highlight erroneous regions [ MLGH13 ]. In this work, we provide an interactive visualization framework for exploring high-dimensional data via its two-dimensional embeddings obtained from dimension reduction, using a rich set of user interactions. We ask the following question: what new insights do we obtain regarding the structure of the data, with interactive manipulations of its embeddings in the visual space? We augment the two-dimensional embeddings with structural abstrac- tions obtained from hierarchical clusterings, to help users navigate and manipulate subsets of the data. We use point-wise distortion measures to highlight interesting regions in the domain, and further to guide our selection of the appropriate level of clusterings that are aligned with the regions of interest. Under the static setting, point-wise distortions indicate the level of structural uncertainty within the embeddings. Under the dynamic setting, on-the-fly updates of point-wise distortions due to data movement and data deletion reflect structural relations among different parts of the data, which may lead to new and valuable insights.



Analyzing Simulation-Based PRA Data Through Clustering: a BWR Station Blackout Case Study
D. Maljovec, S. Liu, Bei Wang, V. Pascucci, P.-T. Bremer, D. Mandelli, C. Smith. In Proceedings of the Probabilistic Safety Assessment & Management conference (PSAM), 2014.

Dynamic probabilistic risk assessment (DPRA) methodologies couple system simulator codes (e.g., RELAP, MELCOR) with simulation controller codes (e.g., RAVEN, ADAPT). Whereas system simulator codes accurately model system dynamics deterministically, simulation controller codes introduce both deterministic (e.g., system control logic, operating procedures) and stochastic (e.g., component failures, parameter uncertainties) elements into the simulation. Typically, a DPRA is performed by 1) sampling values of a set of parameters from the uncertainty space of interest (using the simulation controller codes), and 2) simulating the system behavior for that specific set of parameter values (using the system simulator codes). For complex systems, one of the major challenges in using DPRA methodologies is to analyze the large amount of information (i.e., large number of scenarios ) generated, where clustering techniques are typically employed to allow users to better organize and interpret the data. In this paper, we focus on the analysis of a nuclear simulation dataset that is part of the risk-informed safety margin characterization (RISMC) boiling water reactor (BWR) station blackout (SBO) case study. We apply a software tool that provides the domain experts with an interactive analysis and visualization environment for understanding the structures of such high-dimensional nuclear simulation datasets. Our tool encodes traditional and topology-based clustering techniques, where the latter partitions the data points into clusters based on their uniform gradient flow behavior. We demonstrate through our case study that both types of clustering techniques complement each other in bringing enhanced structural understanding of the data.

Keywords: PRA, computational topology, clustering, high-dimensional analysis



Systematic Debugging Methods for Large-Scale HPC Computational Frameworks
A. Humphrey, Q. Meng, M. Berzins, D. Caminha B.de Oliveira, Z. Rakamaric, G. Gopalakrishnan. In Computing in Science Engineering, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 48--56. May, 2014.
ISSN: 1521-9615
DOI: 10.1109/MCSE.2014.11

Parallel computational frameworks for high performance computing (HPC) are central to the advancement of simulation based studies in science and engineering. Unfortunately, finding and fixing bugs in these frameworks can be extremely time consuming. Left unchecked, these bugs can drastically diminish the amount of new science that can be performed. This paper presents our systematic study of the Uintah Computational Framework, and our approaches to debug it more incisively. Our key insight is to leverage the modular structure of Uintah which lends itself to systematic debugging. In particular, we have developed a new approach based on Coalesced Stack Trace Graphs (CSTGs) that summarize the system behavior in terms of key control flows manifested through function invocation chains. We illustrate several scenarios how CSTGs could help efficiently localize bugs, and present a case study of how we found and fixed a real Uintah bug using CSTGs.

Keywords: Computational Modeling and Frameworks, Parallel Programming, Reliability, Debugging Aids



ASCAC Workforce Subcommittee Letter
B. Chapman, H. Calandra, S. Crivelli, J. Dongarra, J. Hittinger, C.R. Johnson, S.A. Lathrop, V. Sarkar, E. Stahlberg, J.S. Vetter, D. Williams. Note: Office of Scientific and Technical Information, DOE ASCAC Committee Report, July, 2014.
DOI: 10.2172/1222711

Simulation and computing are essential to much of the research conducted at the DOE national laboratories. Experts in the ASCR-relevant Computing Sciences, which encompass a range of disciplines including Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, Statistics and domain sciences, are an essential element of the workforce in nearly all of the DOE national laboratories. This report seeks to identify the gaps and challenges facing DOE with respect to this workforce.

The DOE laboratories provided the committee with information on disciplines in which they experienced workforce gaps. For the larger laboratories, the majority of the cited workforce gaps were in the Computing Sciences. Since this category spans multiple disciplines, it was difficult to obtain comprehensive information on workforce gaps in the available timeframe. Nevertheless, five multi-purpose laboratories provided additional relevant data on recent hiring and retention.

Data on academic coursework was reviewed. Studies on multidisciplinary education in Computational Science and Engineering (CS&E) revealed that, while the number of CS&E courses offered is growing, the overall availability is low and the coursework fails to provide skills for applying CS&E to real-world applications. The number of graduates in different fields within Computer Science (CS) and Computer Engineering (CE) was also reviewed, which confirmed that specialization in DOE areas of interest is less common than in many other areas.

Projections of industry needs and employment figures (mostly for CS and CE) were examined. They indicate a high and increasing demand for graduates in all areas of computing, with little unemployment. This situation will be exacerbated by large numbers of retirees in the coming decade. Further, relatively few US students study toward higher degrees in the Computing Sciences, and those who do are predominantly white and male. As a result of this demographic imbalance, foreign nationals are an increasing fraction of the graduate population and we fail to benefit from including women and underrepresented minorities.

There is already a program that supports graduate education that is tailored to the needs of the DOE laboratories. The Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (CSGF) enables graduates to pursue a multidisciplinary program of education that is coupled with practical experience at the laboratories. It has been demonstrated to be highly effective in both its educational goals and in its ability to supply talent to the laboratories. However, its current size and scope are too limited to solve the workforce problems identified. The committee felt strongly that this proven program should be extended to increase its ability to support the DOE mission.

Since no single program can eliminate the workforce gap, existing recruitment efforts by the laboratories were examined. It was found that the laboratories already make considerable effort to recruit in this area. Although some challenges, such as the inability to match industry compensation, cannot be directly addressed, DOE could develop a roadmap to increase the impact of individual laboratory efforts, to enhance the suitability of existing educational opportunities, to increase the attractiveness of the laboratories, and to attract and sustain a full spectrum of human talent, which includes women and underrepresented minorities.



A survey of high level frameworks in block-structured adaptive mesh refinement packages
A. Dubey, A. Almgren, John Bell, M. Berzins, S. Brandt, G. Bryan, P. Colella, D. Graves, M. Lijewski, F. Löffler, B. O’Shea, E. Schnetter, B. Van Straalen, K. Weide. In Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing, 2014.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpdc.2014.07.001

Over the last decade block-structured adaptive mesh refinement (SAMR) has found increasing use in large, publicly available codes and frameworks. SAMR frameworks have evolved along different paths. Some have stayed focused on specific domain areas, others have pursued a more general functionality, providing the building blocks for a larger variety of applications. In this survey paper we examine a representative set of SAMR packages and SAMR-based codes that have been in existence for half a decade or more, have a reasonably sized and active user base outside of their home institutions, and are publicly available. The set consists of a mix of SAMR packages and application codes that cover a broad range of scientific domains. We look at their high-level frameworks, their design trade-offs and their approach to dealing with the advent of radical changes in hardware architecture. The codes included in this survey are BoxLib, Cactus, Chombo, Enzo, FLASH, and Uintah.

Keywords: SAMR, BoxLib, Chombo, FLASH, Cactus, Enzo, Uintah



Parallel Breadth First Search on GPU Clusters
SCI Technical Report, Z. Fu, H.K. Dasari, M. Berzins, B. Thompson. No. UUSCI-2014-002, SCI Institute, University of Utah, 2014.

Fast, scalable, low-cost, and low-power execution of parallel graph algorithms is important for a wide variety of commercial and public sector applications. Breadth First Search (BFS) imposes an extreme burden on memory bandwidth and network communications and has been proposed as a benchmark that may be used to evaluate current and future parallel computers. Hardware trends and manufacturing limits strongly imply that many core devices, such as NVIDIA® GPUs and the Intel® Xeon Phi®, will become central components of such future systems. GPUs are well known to deliver the highest FLOPS/watt and enjoy a very significant memory bandwidth advantage over CPU architectures. Recent work has demonstrated that GPUs can deliver high performance for parallel graph algorithms and, further, that it is possible to encapsulate that capability in a manner that hides the low level details of the GPU architecture and the CUDA language but preserves the high throughput of the GPU. We extend previous research on GPUs and on scalable graph processing on super-computers and demonstrate that a high-performance parallel graph machine can be created using commodity GPUs and networking hardware.

Keywords: GPU cluster, MPI, BFS, graph, parallel graph algorithm



Fast Multi-Resolution Reads of Massive Simulation Datasets
S. Kumar, C. Christensen, P.-T. Bremer, E. Brugger, V. Pascucci, J. Schmidt, M. Berzins, H. Kolla, J. Chen, V. Vishwanath, P. Carns, R. Grout. In Proceedings of the International Supercomputing Conference ISC'14, Leipzig, Germany, June, 2014.

Today's massively parallel simulation code can produce output ranging up to many terabytes of data. Utilizing this data to support scientific inquiry requires analysis and visualization, yet the sheer size of the data makes it cumbersome or impossible to read without computational resources similar to the original simulation. We identify two broad classes of problems for reading data and present effective solutions for both. The first class of data reads depends on user requirements and available resources. Tasks such as visualization and user-guided analysis may be accomplished using only a subset of variables with restricted spatial extents at a reduced resolution. The other class of reads require full resolution multi-variate data to be loaded, for example to restart a simulation. We show that utilizing the hierarchical multi-resolution IDX data format enables scalable and efficient serial and parallel read access on a variety of hardware from supercomputers down to portable devices. We demonstrate interactive view-dependent visualization and analysis of massive scientific datasets using low-power commodity hardware, and we compare read performance with other parallel file formats for both full and partial resolution data.



Scalable large-scale fluid-structure interaction solvers in the Uintah framework via hybrid task-based parallelism algorithms
Q. Meng, M. Berzins. In Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience, Vol. 26, No. 7, pp. 1388--1407. May, 2014.
DOI: 10.1002/cpe

Uintah is a software framework that provides an environment for solving fluid–structure interaction problems on structured adaptive grids for large-scale science and engineering problems involving the solution of partial differential equations. Uintah uses a combination of fluid flow solvers and particle-based methods for solids, together with adaptive meshing and a novel asynchronous task-based approach with fully automated load balancing. When applying Uintah to fluid–structure interaction problems, the combination of adaptive mesh- ing and the movement of structures through space present a formidable challenge in terms of achieving scalability on large-scale parallel computers. The Uintah approach to the growth of the number of core counts per socket together with the prospect of less memory per core is to adopt a model that uses MPI to communicate between nodes and a shared memory model on-node so as to achieve scalability on large-scale systems. For this approach to be successful, it is necessary to design data structures that large numbers of cores can simultaneously access without contention. This scalability challenge is addressed here for Uintah, by the development of new hybrid runtime and scheduling algorithms combined with novel lock-free data structures, making it possible for Uintah to achieve excellent scalability for a challenging fluid–structure problem with mesh refinement on as many as 260K cores.

Keywords: MPI, threads, Uintah, many core, lock free, fluid-structure interaction, c-safe



An Alternative Formulation of Lyapunov Exponents for Computing Lagrangian Coherent Structures
A.R. Sanderson. In Proceedings of the 2014 IEEE Pacific Visualization Symposium (PacificVis), Yokahama Japan, 2014.

Lagrangian coherent structures are time-evolving surfaces that highlight areas in flow fields where neighboring advected particles diverge or converge. The detection and understanding of such structures is an important part of many applications such as in oceanography where there is a need to predict the dispersion of oil and other materials in the ocean. One of the most widely used tools for revealing Lagrangian coherent structures has been to calculate the finite-time Lyapunov exponents, whose maximal values appear as ridgelines to reveal Lagrangian coherent structures. In this paper we explore an alternative formulation of Lyapunov exponents for computing Lagrangian coherent structures.



Geometric constraints on quadratic Bézier curves using minimal length and energy
Y. Joon Ahn, C. Hoffmann, P. Rosen. In Journal of Computational and Applied Mathematics, Vol. 255, pp. 887--897. 2014.

This paper derives expressions for the arc length and the bending energy of quadratic Bézier curves. The formulas are in terms of the control point coordinates. For fixed start and end points of the Bézier curve, the locus of the middle control point is analyzed for curves of fixed arc length or bending energy. In the case of arc length this locus is convex. For bending energy it is not. Given a line or a circle and fixed end points, the locus of the middle control point is determined for those curves that are tangent to a given line or circle. For line tangency, this locus is a parallel line. In the case of the circle, the locus can be classified into one of six major types. In some of these cases, the locus contains circular arcs. These results are then used to implement fast algorithms that construct quadratic Bézier curves tangent to a given line or circle, with given end points, that minimize bending energy or arc length.



2D Vector Field Simplification Based on Robustness
P. Skraba, Bei Wang, G. Chen, P. Rosen. In Proceedings of the 2014 IEEE Pacific Visualization Symposium, PacificVis, Note: Awarded Best Paper!, 2014.

Vector field simplification aims to reduce the complexity of the flow by removing features in order of their relevance and importance, to reveal prominent behavior and obtain a compact representation for interpretation. Most existing simplification techniques based on the topological skeleton successively remove pairs of critical points connected by separatrices, using distance or area-based relevance measures. These methods rely on the stable extraction of the topological skeleton, which can be difficult due to instability in numerical integration, especially when processing highly rotational flows. These geometric metrics do not consider the flow magnitude, an important physical property of the flow. In this paper, we propose a novel simplification scheme derived from the recently introduced topological notion of robustness, which provides a complementary view on flow structure compared to the traditional topological-skeleton-based approaches. Robustness enables the pruning of sets of critical points according to a quantitative measure of their stability, that is, the minimum amount of vector field perturbation required to remove them. This leads to a hierarchical simplification scheme that encodes flow magnitude in its perturbation metric. Our novel simplification algorithm is based on degree theory, has fewer boundary restrictions, and so can handle more general cases. Finally, we provide an implementation under the piecewise-linear setting and apply it to both synthetic and real-world datasets.

Keywords: vector field, topology-based techniques, flow visualization



International Journal for Uncertainty Quantification,
Subtitled “Special Issue on Working with Uncertainty: Representation, Quantification, Propagation, Visualization, and Communication of Uncertainty,” C.R. Johnson, A. Pang (Eds.). In Int. J. Uncertainty Quantification, Vol. 3, No. 3, Begell House, Inc., 2013.
ISSN: 2152-5080
DOI: 10.1615/Int.J.UncertaintyQuantification.v3.i3



International Journal for Uncertainty Quantification,
Subtitled “Special Issue on Working with Uncertainty: Representation, Quantification, Propagation, Visualization, and Communication of Uncertainty,” C.R. Johnson, A. Pang (Eds.). In Int. J. Uncertainty Quantification, Vol. 3, No. 2, Begell House, Inc., pp. vii--viii. 2013.
ISSN: 2152-5080
DOI: 10.1615/Int.J.UncertaintyQuantification.v3.i2



A Fast Iterative Method for Solving the Eikonal Equation on Tetrahedral Domains
Z. Fu, R.M. Kirby, R.T. Whitaker. In SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing, Vol. 35, No. 5, pp. C473--C494. 2013.

Generating numerical solutions to the eikonal equation and its many variations has a broad range of applications in both the natural and computational sciences. Efficient solvers on cutting-edge, parallel architectures require new algorithms that may not be theoretically optimal, but that are designed to allow asynchronous solution updates and have limited memory access patterns. This paper presents a parallel algorithm for solving the eikonal equation on fully unstructured tetrahedral meshes. The method is appropriate for the type of fine-grained parallelism found on modern massively-SIMD architectures such as graphics processors and takes into account the particular constraints and capabilities of these computing platforms. This work builds on previous work for solving these equations on triangle meshes; in this paper we adapt and extend previous 2D strategies to accommodate three-dimensional, unstructured, tetrahedralized domains. These new developments include a local update strategy with data compaction for tetrahedral meshes that provides solutions on both serial and parallel architectures, with a generalization to inhomogeneous, anisotropic speed functions. We also propose two new update schemes, specialized to mitigate the natural data increase observed when moving to three dimensions, and the data structures necessary for efficiently mapping data to parallel SIMD processors in a way that maintains computational density. Finally, we present descriptions of the implementations for a single CPU, as well as multicore CPUs with shared memory and SIMD architectures, with comparative results against state-of-the-art eikonal solvers.



Scalable Visualization and Interactive Analysis Using Massive Data Streams
V. Pascucci, P.-T. Bremer, A. Gyulassy, G. Scorzelli, C. Christensen, B. Summa, S. Kumar. In Cloud Computing and Big Data, Advances in Parallel Computing, Vol. 23, IOS Press, pp. 212--230. 2013.

Historically, data creation and storage has always outpaced the infrastructure for its movement and utilization. This trend is increasing now more than ever, with the ever growing size of scientific simulations, increased resolution of sensors, and large mosaic images. Effective exploration of massive scientific models demands the combination of data management, analysis, and visualization techniques, working together in an interactive setting. The ViSUS application framework has been designed as an environment that allows the interactive exploration and analysis of massive scientific models in a cache-oblivious, hardware-agnostic manner, enabling processing and visualization of possibly geographically distributed data using many kinds of devices and platforms.

For general purpose feature segmentation and exploration we discuss a new paradigm based on topological analysis. This approach enables the extraction of summaries of features present in the data through abstract models that are orders of magnitude smaller than the raw data, providing enough information to support general queries and perform a wide range of analyses without access to the original data.

Keywords: Visualization, data analysis, topological data analysis, Parallel I/O



The influence of an applied heat flux on the violence of reaction of an explosive device
M. Hall, J.C. Beckvermit, C.A. Wight, T. Harman, M. Berzins. In Proceedings of the Conference on Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment: Gateway to Discovery, San Diego, California, XSEDE '13, pp. 11:1--11:8. 2013.
ISBN: 978-1-4503-2170-9
DOI: 10.1145/2484762.2484786

It is well known that the violence of slow cook-off explosions can greatly exceed the comparatively mild case burst events typically observed for rapid heating. However, there have been few studies that examine the reaction violence as a function of applied heat flux that explore the dependence on heating geometry and device size. Here we report progress on a study using the Uintah Computation Framework, a high-performance computer model capable of modeling deflagration, material damage, deflagration to detonation transition and detonation for PBX9501 and similar explosives. Our results suggests the existence of a sharp threshold for increased reaction violence with decreasing heat flux. The critical heat flux was seen to increase with increasing device size and decrease with the heating of multiple surfaces, suggesting that the temperature gradient in the heated energetic material plays an important role the violence of reactions.

Keywords: DDT, cook-off, deflagration, detonation, violence of reaction, c-safe



Characterization and modeling of PIDX parallel I/O for performance optimization
S. Kumar, A. Saha, V. Vishwanath, P. Carns, J.A. Schmidt, G. Scorzelli, H. Kolla, R. Grout, R. Latham, R. Ross, M.E. Papka, J. Chen, V. Pascucci. In Proceedings of SC13: International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis, pp. 67. 2013.

Parallel I/O library performance can vary greatly in response to user-tunable parameter values such as aggregator count, file count, and aggregation strategy. Unfortunately, manual selection of these values is time consuming and dependent on characteristics of the target machine, the underlying file system, and the dataset itself. Some characteristics, such as the amount of memory per core, can also impose hard constraints on the range of viable parameter values. In this work we address these problems by using machine learning techniques to model the performance of the PIDX parallel I/O library and select appropriate tunable parameter values. We characterize both the network and I/O phases of PIDX on a Cray XE6 as well as an IBM Blue Gene/P system. We use the results of this study to develop a machine learning model for parameter space exploration and performance prediction.

Keywords: I/O, Network Characterization, Performance Modeling



Large Scale Parallel Solution of Incompressible Flow Problems using Uintah and hypre
J. Schmidt, M. Berzins, J. Thornock, T. Saad, J. Sutherland. In 2013 13th IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Cluster, Cloud and Grid Computing (CCGrid), pp. 458--465. 2013.

The Uintah Software framework was developed to provide an environment for solving fluid-structure interaction problems on structured adaptive grids on large-scale, longrunning, data-intensive problems. Uintah uses a combination of fluid-flow solvers and particle-based methods for solids together with a novel asynchronous task-based approach with fully automated load balancing. As Uintah is often used to solve incompressible flow problems in combustion applications it is important to have a scalable linear solver. While there are many such solvers available, the scalability of those codes varies greatly. The hypre software offers a range of solvers and preconditioners for different types of grids. The weak scalability of Uintah and hypre is addressed for particular examples of both packages when applied to a number of incompressible flow problems. After careful software engineering to reduce startup costs, much better than expected weak scalability is seen for up to 100K cores on NSFs Kraken architecture and up to 260K cpu cores, on DOEs new Titan machine. The scalability is found to depend in a crtitical way on the choice of algorithm used by hypre for a realistic application problem.

Keywords: Uintah, hypre, parallelism, scalability, linear equations



Uncertainty Visualization in Forward and Inverse Cardiac Models
B. Burton, B. Erem, K. Potter, P. Rosen, C.R. Johnson, D. Brooks, R.S. Macleod. In Computing in Cardiology CinC, pp. 57--60. 2013.
ISSN: 2325-8861

Quantification and visualization of uncertainty in cardiac forward and inverse problems with complex geometries is subject to various challenges. Specific to visualization is the observation that occlusion and clutter obscure important regions of interest, making visual assessment difficult. In order to overcome these limitations in uncertainty visualization, we have developed and implemented a collection of novel approaches. To highlight the utility of these techniques, we evaluated the uncertainty associated with two examples of modeling myocardial activity. In one case we studied cardiac potentials during the repolarization phase as a function of variability in tissue conductivities of the ischemic heart (forward case). In a second case, we evaluated uncertainty in reconstructed activation times on the epicardium resulting from variation in the control parameter of Tikhonov regularization (inverse case). To overcome difficulties associated with uncertainty visualization, we implemented linked-view windows and interactive animation to the two respective cases. Through dimensionality reduction and superimposed mean and standard deviation measures over time, we were able to display key features in large ensembles of data and highlight regions of interest where larger uncertainties exist.



Specimen-specific predictions of contact stress under physiological loading in the human hip: validation and sensitivity studies
C.R. Henak, A.K. Kapron, B.J. Ellis, S.A. Maas, A.E. Anderson, J.A. Weiss. In Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology, pp. 1-14. 2013.
DOI: 10.1007/s10237-013-0504-1

Hip osteoarthritis may be initiated and advanced by abnormal cartilage contact mechanics, and finite element (FE) modeling provides an approach with the potential to allow the study of this process. Previous FE models of the human hip have been limited by single specimen validation and the use of quasi-linear or linear elastic constitutive models of articular cartilage. The effects of the latter assumptions on model predictions are unknown, partially because data for the instantaneous behavior of healthy human hip cartilage are unavailable. The aims of this study were to develop and validate a series of specimen-specific FE models, to characterize the regional instantaneous response of healthy human hip cartilage in compression, and to assess the effects of material nonlinearity, inhomogeneity and specimen-specific material coefficients on FE predictions of cartilage contact stress and contact area. Five cadaveric specimens underwent experimental loading, cartilage material characterization and specimen-specific FE modeling. Cartilage in the FE models was represented by average neo-Hookean, average Veronda Westmann and specimen- and region-specific Veronda Westmann hyperelastic constitutive models. Experimental measurements and FE predictions compared well for all three cartilage representations, which was reflected in average RMS errors in contact stress of less than 25 %. The instantaneous material behavior of healthy human hip cartilage varied spatially, with stiffer acetabular cartilage than femoral cartilage and stiffer cartilage in lateral regions than in medial regions. The Veronda Westmann constitutive model with average material coefficients accurately predicted peak contact stress, average contact stress, contact area and contact patterns. The use of subject- and region-specific material coefficients did not increase the accuracy of FE model predictions. The neo-Hookean constitutive model underpredicted peak contact stress in areas of high stress. The results of this study support the use of average cartilage material coefficients in predictions of cartilage contact stress and contact area in the normal hip. The regional characterization of cartilage material behavior provides the necessary inputs for future computational studies, to investigate other mechanical parameters that may be correlated with OA and cartilage damage in the human hip. In the future, the results of this study can be applied to subject-specific models to better understand how abnormal hip contact stress and contact area contribute to OA.