Reliable Contact Simulation with IPC

Minchen Li - University of California, Los Angeles

March 25, 2022, 2:30 p.m. - March 25, 2022, 3:30 p.m.

Virtual (see link below)

Hosted by: Xujie Si

Abstract: Simulating the contact of deformable and possibly thin solids in a robust, accurate, and efficient manner is challenging. Traditionally, the contact of solids is approximately modeled with linearized geometric information near the contacting regions. This approximation is prone to generating under- or over-constrained subproblems that can produce interpenetrating or numerically unstable results, especially when large deformation of the solids is also present. To avoid these issues, we propose Incremental Potential Contact (IPC) by formulating a mathematically consistent and general non-interpenetration constraint based on precisely calculated unsigned distances between boundary elements. IPC then applies a customized barrier potential to directly relate the distances to the contact forces, which can grow infinitely large as the distance approaches zero to guarantee non-interpenetration. Results show reliable contact simulation using IPC even with versatile materials, large time step sizes, fast impact velocities, severe deformation, and varying boundary conditions – bringing the possibility of conveniently obtaining intricate and important dynamical details to computer graphics, computational mechanics, and robotics in a reliable way.


Bio: Minchen Li is an Assistant Adjunct Professor at UCLA Department of Mathematics. He was a Postdoctoral Researcher in the SIG Center for Computer Graphics at the University of Pennsylvania after completing his Ph.D. in the same group, advised by Chenfanfu Jiang. Minchen is a winner of the 2021 ACM SIGGRAPH Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, the 2021 Symposium on Computer Animation (SCA) Doctoral Dissertation Award, and the 2020 Adobe Research Fellowship. His Ph.D. dissertation features the invention of the Incremental Potential Contact (IPC) method, which presents a breakthrough in the notoriously challenging and long-standing problem of robust frictional contact simulation in nonlinear solid dynamics with guarantees of non-intersection, and has led to a series of follow-up works in both academia and industry.

Zoom link:

Virtual reception after the talk in Gather: