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ACM TechNews

Building Airplanes on a Computer

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IAI Westwind jet cockpit

Credit: IAI Westwind

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill computer scientists and Boeing researchers are developing a new set of hierarchical and multi-resolution algorithms and techniques to simulate digital assemblies of large computer-aided design (CAD) structures such as a Boeing aircraft. The algorithms enabled the researchers to produce real-time programs to ray-trace large models on PC workstations.

Efficient algorithms for proximity computations also have been developed for the purpose of object placement and spotting interferences among the CAD components.

The ultimate aim of the UNC project is the development of digital manufacturing environments that include three-dimensional representations of parts and assembly tooling that can significantly enhance assembly, disassembly, and re-assembly processes for manufacturing and maintenance.

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