Story of SOFA

Creation of SOFA

The idea of creating an open-source platform for physics-based simulation first arose in the rooms of the CIMIT in Boston in 2000. It took about four years before a white paper describing the concept of the architecture of SOFA was written in 2004. For the first time, this white paper foreseen a collaborative project between the CIMIT and Inria (Alcove team in Lille). Soon, further Inria teams joined the project in Sophia-Antipolis and Grenoble. Early in 2005, the first live demonstration of SOFA was performed at the occasion of MMVR in Los Angeles. Subsequently, the American Department of Defense decided to fund the development of SOFA while Inria actively supported the project with the first SOFA engineers.

The SOFA project really started in 2006 in Boston

Then, the implementation of the SOFA framework intensively started with new engineers, the first PhD students working on SOFA (CSIRO, Inria). In 2007, a publication describing in details the structure and the concepts of SOFA was accepted at MMVR. Since then, many engineers and PhD students contributed and experienced SOFA. Many of them are still in the community !

Today, SOFA gathers about 10 years of research in physics simulation. Many publications were accepted, several simulators were developed and five startups were created. The research topics were diverse:

  • Solid mechanics with the simulation of the brain, the ear, the bones, the heart, the liver,
  • Fluid dynamics with the simulation of fat filling and blood flow in aneurysms,
  • Thermodynamics with thermo-ablation of tumors,
  • and many other topics as image processing, animation or biological applications !
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Deep brain stimulation
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Cataract surgery
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Cardiac electrophysiology
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Blood flow and coil deployment in an aneurysm

Today, the SOFA Consortium

Exactly ten years after the first commit in SOFA, Inria founded the SOFA Consortium in December 2015. This Consortium now:

  • Represents the identity of SOFA,
  • Organize and develop the community,
  • Distribute and make SOFA more stable.

Being closer to the SOFA community is a crucial mission of this Consortium. The Consortium will now help you in using SOFA, contributing to SOFA, finding the right contact for your need and even advertise your work based on SOFA. So do not hesitate to contact us for any question !

SOFA, you said ?

You might wonder where does the name SOFA come from ! As detailed above, the whole story started at CIMIT in Boston. The laboratory of CIMIT was at that time a large open space. But, a small spot was dedicated to brainstorming with a white board and … a sofa. A name was found: SOFA standing for Simulation Open Framework Architecture !

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