Hummingbird Flight

Visualizing the complex behavior of vortices surrounding hummingbird wings

Peter Schröder, the Shaler Arthur Hanisch Professor of Computer Science and Applied and Computational Mathematics, and his team built a computational algorithm to model the behavior of vortices—rotating regions of fluids that form phenomena such as tornados or whirlpools. When combined with another team's model of a hummingbird in flight, the algorithm accurately visualized the vortices of air that form around a hummingbird's beating wings.

The work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Collaborative Research Center TRR 109 "Discretization in Geometry and Dynamics" and SideFX software.