Interim Report

Team Number: 050
School Name: Des Moines High School
Area of Science: Earth and Space Sciences
Project Title: Modelling Solar Gravitational Fields
Project Abstract: http://mode.lanl.k12.nm.us/97.98/abstracts/050.html
Interim Report: http://mode.lanl.k12.nm.us/97.98/interims/050.html
Final Report: http://mode.lanl.k12.nm.us/97.98/finalreports/050/finalreport.html

The objective of this project is to use modern computing technology to accurately model various field phenomena such as gravitational, electrical, and magnetic fields.

To accomplish this, we had divided our project into several smaller steps:

  1. The first step was to write a C++ program that would model the gravitational field of a single object in a limited amount of space. This was accomplished with a simple text-based program that outputted the gravitational field intensities as floating point numbers.
  2. The second step was to expand upon the first step and incorporate multiple bodies in a limited two-dimensional area of space. This has been accomplished; however, there are still a few bugs that require correction.
  3. The third step was to expand upon the second step and incorporate three-dimensional modeling techniques. This has also been accomplished to a limited extent; however, the bugs in the program in the second step are also in this version of the program.
  4. The fourth step is to modify the program so that the effects of time can be seen as the objects are in motion and to model the fields appropriately. No progress has been made at this level, due to pending work in the previous two steps.
  5. Thus far, only the gravitational fields have been modeled. The fifth step will require modification of the programs so that different types of fields may be modeled, primarily electrical and magnetic fields.
  6. Depending on the time remaining after the previous five steps have been accomplished, we would like to compensate for the effects of relativity. We would like to use this program to model phenomena in space-time such as time dilation, length contraction, and mass changes.

The bugs in the program are errors in mathematical logic that are affecting the accurate addition of gravitational force vectors.

The fourth step will be the most complex, due to the rendering of a time-stepped environment. Technologies that may be applied to this challenge are the VRML 2.0 specification, Sun's Java 3D Application Programmming Interface, or Silicon Graphics' Cosmo Virtual Reality tools.

Other pending tasks are the creation of a World Wide Web site for both reference and feedback purposes, the construction of either a Java or CGI-based interface so that the generation of models can be conducted via the Web, and the refinement of the code for the most effective memory and processor usage.

The task of creating the web site has fallen upon the shoulders of Meghan Berg and Kasey Camp. Scarlett Sederberg has been given the task of collecting data and research. An early draft of the site has been created, but is not yet operational.

While the construction of the CGI/Java interfaced has not yet been approached, Joel Camp has been researching the VRML 2.0 and VRML 97 specifications.

Refinement of the C++ coding has not yet started due to the lack of code completion. Chris Karr is writing the C++ source for a fully functional program.

Team Members:

Sponsoring Teacher:

Project Advisor:

New Mexico High School Supercomputing Challenge