Wayne State researcher earns NSF CAREER award for innovation in 3D/4D anisotropy with parallel computation

Geometric modeling tools are rapidly increasing in popularity across many engineering sectors, including automotive, health care and medical imaging, aerospace and defense, and artificial intelligence. There is an emerging need to realistically and efficiently construct and analyze 3D and 4D volumetric objects with complex geometric structures and anisotropic properties.

The research of Zichun Zhong, assistant professor of computer science at Wayne State University, aims to facilitate more efficient creation of such objects, addressing the lack of parallel computational framework that would allow for more intricate design and a less tedious process.

For his work in this domain, Zhong was recently awarded a five-year, $500,000 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation.

One of the most overt applications for Zhong’s method is in the realm of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing.

"It can model multi-shape of mesh element in a unified framework so as to effectively generate high-quality honeycomb, tetrahedral, and hexahedral/grid patterns," said Zhong.

This project proposes that anisotropic 3D printing will surpass traditional methods because the process will require less materials but be stronger in quality. The parallel computing aspect of the project will streamline fabrication and allow for multiple steps to be carried out at once.

“This will significantly impact the next generation of mechanical component design, as 3D objects will come at a lower cost and a lighter weight,” said Zhong.

NSF CAREER awards, the most prestigious honor bestowed by the organization to rising researchers, emphasize the integration of research and education. Zhong plans to develop an interactive 3D education program to enhance the classroom experience for WSU engineering students and to engage K-12 students during outreach events such as STEM Day.

Zhong joined the Wayne State faculty in 2015 after serving as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science from The University of Texas at Dallas, and is actively researching such domains as computer graphics and visualization, geometric modeling, medical image processing, and GPU algorithms.

The grant number for this NSF CAREEER award is 1845962.


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