Section: Overall Objectives
Our daily life environment is increasingly interacting with digital information. An important amount of this information is of geometric nature. It concerns the representation of our environment, the analysis and understanding of “real” phenomena, the control of physical mechanisms or processes. The interaction between physical and digital worlds is two-way. Sensors are producing digital data related to measurements or observations of our environment. Digital models are also used to “act” on the physical world. Objects that we use at home, at work, to travel, such as furniture, cars, planes, ... are nowadays produced by industrial processes which are based on digital representation of shapes. CAD-CAM (Computer Aided Design – Computer Aided Manufacturing) software is used to represent the geometry of these objects and to control the manufacturing processes which create them. The construction capabilities themselves are also expanding, with the development of 3D printers and the possibility to create daily-life objects “at home” from digital models.
The impact of geometry is also important in the analysis and understanding of phenomena. The 3D conformation of a molecule explains its biological interaction with other molecules. The profile of a wing determines its aeronautic behavior, while the shape of a bulbous bow can decrease significantly the wave resistance of a ship. Understanding such a behavior or analyzing a physical phenomenon can nowadays be achieved for many problems by numerical simulation. The precise representation of the geometry and the link between the geometric models and the numerical computation tools are closely related to the quality of these simulations. This also plays an important role in optimisation loops where the numerical simulation results are used to improve the “performance” of a model.
Geometry deals with structured and efficient representations of information and with methods to treat it. Its impact in animation, games and VAMR (Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality) is important. It also has a growing influence in e-trade where a consumer can evaluate, test and buy a product from its digital description. Geometric data produced for instance by 3D scanners and reconstructed models are nowadays used to memorize old works in cultural or industrial domains.
Geometry is involved in many domains (manufacturing, simulation, communication, virtual world...), raising many challenging questions related to the representations of shapes, to the analysis of their properties and to the computation with these models. The stakes are multiple: the accuracy in numerical engineering, in simulation, in optimization, the quality in design and manufacturing processes, the capacity of modeling and analysis of physical problems.