of the human body from the cardiovascular system to muscles, bones, and organs. As these equations and models are formulated, there is an ever-growing need for new computational algorithms that can be used for the computer simulation of biological structures. Plate 6 shows a sample computer simulation of a skeleton running. Geometric models were used for the bones, mathematical equations were used to describe the limited motion allowed for by the connective tissue in joints, and special models for soft tissue were used to simulate the muscles (the red regions in Plate 6 represent the biceps muscles). Plate 7 shows 30 muscles of the upper limb represented as a tetrahedral mesh ready for finite element simulation. Computer simulation of humans is of interest to a wide variety of commercial industries as well. The entertainment industry would like to simulate virtual actors, the textile industry would like to simulate both runway models and everyday customers trying on virtual clothing, and so on. See Plate 8 for a computer simulation of a piece of draped cloth.

As both everyday personal computers and national laboratory supercomputers continue to increase in speed and as better algorithms are developed, the size, complexity, and realism of the problems that can be simulated on these computers increase as well. In addition, as researchers branch out into new and exciting research areas, they will formulate mathematical descriptions of their problems that are subsequently amenable to computer simulation. The future is bright in a number of research areas, and where researchers go, math and computer algorithms are sure to follow.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement