We implement the simulation using visitors which traverse the scene topdown and bottomup, and call the corresponding virtual functions at each graph node traversal. Algorithmic operations on the simulated objects are implemented by deriving the Visitor class and overloading its virtual functions processNodeTopDown( ) and processNodeBottomUp( ). Time stepping is implemented using the AnimateVisitor, which passes the control to an AnimationLoop, which schedules collision detection and ODE solution. ODE solvers control an arbitrary number of simulated objects through abstract methods implemented by specialized visitors, and symbolic vector identificators. The symbolic vector ids allow to represent global state vectors, such as positions, while leaving all the actual state vectors in the local MechanicalState of the simulated objects.
More on Solvers
There are two categories of solvers. ODE solvers (derived from core::behavior::OdeSolver), which goal is to advance the objects in time, may use auxiliary linear solvers (derived from core::behavior::BaseLinearSolver) to solve linear equations. In the following, we focus on ode solvers, though some info also applies to linear solvers. The goal of ode solvers is to advance objects in time. Most of them used to do it by solving an Ordinary Differential Equation, hence the name of the namespace odesolver. However, other animation algorithms, from simple keyframe interpolation to complex Differential Algebraic Equation (DAE) solvers may fit in this category. The solver does not access the state vectors directly. It accesses the state vectors remotely using visitors, which traverse the graph starting from the node which contains the solver. This keeps the implementation of the solver independent from the simulated objects and their types. The set of components reachable by the visitors sent by the solver is called the scope of the solver. The solver animates only the objects within its scope. The scope contains an arbitray number of simulated objects, of arbitrary types. The solver drives a dynamical system represented by the state vectors of the simulated objects. The state vectors are contained in the different component::container::MechanicalOblect components (or, more generally, core::State components). The solver remotely address abstract (scattered) state vectors, called multivectors or MultiVec. For instance, the position vector is the union of all the position vectors of the objects. The multivec entries are not directly accessible by the solvers. The multivec are represented by identificators. The operations on the vectors are implemented using visitors which contain the identificators of the relevant vectors. The multivec identificators (MultiVecId) have different types, depending on the data they contain (positions or their derivatives) and the access mode, e.g.:
typedef TMultiVecId<V_COORD, V_READ> ConstMultiVecCoordId;
typedef TMultiVecId<V_COORD, V_WRITE> MultiVecCoordId;
typedef TMultiVecId<V_DERIV, V_READ> ConstMultiVecDerivId;
typedef TMultiVecId<V_DERIV, V_WRITE> MultiVecDerivId;
For simplicity, some standard state vectors are represented using constant ids:
template
class TStandardVec
{
public:
typedef TVecId MyVecId;
static MyVecId position() { return MyVecId(1);}
static MyVecId restPosition() { return MyVecId(2);}
static MyVecId freePosition() { return MyVecId(3);}
static MyVecId resetPosition() { return MyVecId(4);}
enum { V_FIRST_DYNAMIC_INDEX = 5 }; ///< This is the first index used for dynamically allocated vectors
…
};
template
class TStandardVec
{
public:
typedef TVecId MyVecId;
static MyVecId velocity() { return MyVecId(1); }
static MyVecId resetVelocity() { return MyVecId(2); }
static MyVecId freeVelocity() { return MyVecId(3); }
static MyVecId normal() { return MyVecId(4); }
static MyVecId force() { return MyVecId(5); }
static MyVecId externalForce() { return MyVecId(6); }
static MyVecId dx() { return MyVecId(7); }
static MyVecId dforce() { return MyVecId(8); }
static MyVecId accFromFrame() { return MyVecId(9); }
enum { V_FIRST_DYNAMIC_INDEX = 11 }; ///< This is the first index used for dynamically allocated vectors
...
};
Each type of solver may use different auxiliary state vectors to implement their simulation method. State vectors are allocated and processed in the scope of the solver in a threadsafe way using an instance of simulation::common::VectorOperations. For example:
MultiVecCoord pos(&vop, core::VecCoordId::position() ); // standard position vector, write access
MultiVecDeriv acc(&vop); // auxiliary vector
Each object is composed of a set of particles of the same type (typically 3d particles or 6d rigid bodies). These types and their containers are represented in DataTypes (such as StdVectorTypes, RigidTypes). The state vectors are stored in a dedicated component, typically MechanicalObject derived from State. The visitors which implement mechanical operations derive from MechanicalVisitor. They contain a MultVecId which represent the result state vector of the operation (such as force or acceleration), as well as a MechanicalParams which contains the MultiVecIds of the vectors the component may have to read, such as position or velocity. The component functions called by MechanicalVisitor get the MechanicalParams and the result MultiVecId as parameters. They use this information to access the state vectors stored in the local State component. The state vectors, like other component data, are stored in Data containers which control their access, connections and serialization. The vector Data containers provide different ways of accessing their vectors, see the wiki page.
From symbolic Ids to concrete state vectors
The translation from the symbolic ids to the actual DOF is performed using two levels of abstraction above the concrete class:
 the most abstract level represents concepts, such as force function, or mass, independently of the actual DOF types. Example: core::behavior::BaseForceField
 the second level, deriving from the first, represents the concept applied to a given type of DOF. Example: core::behavior::ForceField<>. This template class is instanciated on various concrete DOF types such as 1d, 2d and 3d particles, 2d and 3d rigid bodies.
 the concrete classes derive from the second abstract level. Example: TetrahedralFEMForceField<>.
During the traversal, – the visitor passes the symbolic vector ids to the virtual method of a pointer to the highest abstract level. – the actual implementation is in the second level, which knows the actual DOF types, queries the corresponding vector(s) from the local MechanicalState, and passes them to an abstract method with vector parameters. – the concrete class implements the method. For example, let us consider the accumulation of force in a given state vector by the EulerSolver:

a vector identificator is created in method solve(const core::ExecParams* params, double dt, sofa::core::MultiVecCoordId xResult, sofa::core::MultiVecDerivId vResult)
MultiVecDeriv fId (&vop, core::VecDerivId::force() );

then method computeForce(core::MultiVecDerivId fId, bool clear, bool accumulate) is called, which creates and launches an appropriate visitor parameterized using the vector id:
executeVisitor( MechanicalComputeForceVisitor(&mparams, fId, accumulate) )
(the parameter is actually a pointer to the visitor)

the visitor traverses the scene and applies its fwdForceField(simulation::Node*, core::behavior::BaseForceField* ff) to each (toplevel) abstract force function
ff>addForce(this>mparams, fId)

Virtual method addForce(const MechanicalParams*, MultiVecDerivId) is actually implemented by ForceField<>, which queries the vectors and passes them to a virtual method with actual parameters
addForce(mparams, *fId[mstate.get(mparams)].write() , *mparams>readX(mstate), *mparams>readV(mstate));
The pointer mstate to the local MechanicalState was queried at initialization. Note that the Id of the force vector is explicitly passed as parameter to the abstract functions, while the Ids of the position and velocity vectors are stored in mparams. More generally, the output vector ids are passed explicitly, while the input vector Ids are stored in the MechanicalParameters, because not all components use the same input vectors to compute a given output vector. Finally, the concrete implementation of the method is provided by the concrete class
Advanced sequence diagram ————————
Fig. 1 – Detailed sequence diagram of a SOFA simulation
Last modified: 12 August 2016