All’s Well That Ends Well: Guaranteed Resolution of Simultaneous Rigid-Body Impact

ACM Transactions on Graphics (SIGGRAPH 2017)

Published August 1, 2017

Etienne Vouga, Breannan Smith, Danny Kaufman, Rasmus Tamstorf, Eitan Grinspun

Iterative algorithms are frequently used to resolve simultaneous impacts between rigid bodies in physical simulations. However, these algorithms lack formal guarantees of termination, which is sometimes viewed as potentially dangerous, so failsafes are used in practical codes to prevent infinite loops. We show such steps are unnecessary. In particular, we study the broad class of such algorithms that are conservative and satisfy a minimal set of physical correctness properties, and which encompasses recent methods like Generalized Reflections as well as pairwise schemes. We fully characterize finite termination of these algorithms. The only possible failure cases can be detected, and we describe a procedure for modifying the algorithms to provably ensure termination. We also describe modifications necessary to guarantee termination in the presence of numerical error due to the use of floating-point arithmetic. Finally, we discuss the challenges dissipation introduce for finite termination, and describe how dissipation models can be incorporated while retaining the termination guarantee

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Research Area:  Graphics (2D & 3D)