Talk FEMhub Online Lab: Finite elements in the web browser

Abstract

The finite element method (FEM) is a technique for finding numerical solutions to partial differential equations. It can be applied to many different problems in physics, biology, engineering, such as molecular design, blood flow, solid and fluid mechanics, and many others. Many FEM software packages are available, both commercial and open source. However, in general it is not easy to experiment with them. The reason is that the commercial ones tend to be very expensive (for example a license to ANSYS costs around $40k), the open source are usually not that user friendly and have specific installation requirements, dependencies, and are not so general.

FEMhub Online Lab is a web application designed to facilitate access to scientific computing to masses. It provides a convenient desktop-like user interface where users can create worksheets with executable code (Python, JavaScript and others), interactive and static content (reStructuredText, TeX math). The user interface can be used in major web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer). Some of the more advanced features (like WebGL-based visualization widgets) may require the newest versions of these web browsers. The Online Lab provides the full Python scientific stack (NumPy, SciPy, Matplotlib, Mayavi, SymPy and many others). It also provides access to several open source finite element codes, including Hermes, SfePy, FiPy and Phaml. For these codes, Online Lab provides basic pre and post processing capabilities (mesh generation, visualization) in the web browser window.

In this talk we will introduce the FEMhub Online Lab, discuss the motivation and goals of the project, and review its main features. The presentation will include live finite element computations, including geometry creation, mesh generation and visualization in the web browser.

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