“Fun Problems”

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything; for a lot of reasons (it’s 2020, what can I say….).

Anyway. One thing I recently realized is that there’s a ton of stuff I should be writing either papers and/or blog articles about (such as the OWL project, https://owl-project.github.io/, some of my “Moana on GPUs” experiences, or some of my recent work on data-parallel ray tracing) …. but that I don’t get to because I spend far too much time worrying about writing up other things that are fun, but significantly less important. These are typically “side problems” that I ran into while working on something totally different – often things I thought were trivial, but that suddenly turned out to be unexpectedly tricky, and that I (say: google) simply couldn’t find any solutions for.

Anyway. Many of these (solutions to) fun problems do indeed need to get documented if only so I could reference them in my code or papers ….  but in “proper paper form” – with previous work, discussions, comparisons to other solution, and in particular all the insane latex-polishing and perfect-figure-crafting – it just takes up too much time, and distracts from the real problems.

So. To break that log-jam I’ve decided to instead share some of these ideas in blog form; using hand-drawn-and-scanned scribbles rather than perfectly designed illustrations (if only i could have all the time back I spent experimenting with ever new sketching program ….), using wordpress rather than latex (oh my beloved \vspace*{…}, \multicolumn{}, and \includegraphics{}….), and doing away with all the stuff that otherwise takes up so much time. To distinguish those write-ups from any other “update”-style articles I’ll explicitly tag each one with a “Fun Problems:” prefix; in the same spirit as the “ISPC bag of tricks” series i wrote a few years ago. Basically they’re the same category: something worth sharing that’ll hopefully(?) help others; but that’s not worth making a real paper about.

As such: on to the first one – how to tetrahedralize a unstructured element with pyramids, wedges, and hexes, without losing proper shared-face connectivity….

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