Physics based design as modeled by Jos Stam

This week’s reading brought to mind the work of Jos Stam. Jos Stam may be considered an artist for the work he does but he is mainly a researcher, an avid one at that.

Jos Stam, is head researcher at AutoDesk, the CAD giants, and his work has been revolutionary in the way that computer modeling has advanced. Stam is greatly interested in the way that computers may be able to accurately represent physical laws. His work is greatly represented in today’s modern culture in the CGI that is pervasive in current movies.


Of course,  Stam’s work is nothing without the world which it seeks to represent. His work relies heavily on deciphering the algorithms by which the physics of the world work. Fluid dynamics is one of Stam’s major research. The fluidity of air, water, fire, all the natural elements and the way by which they evince themselves in nature.

Now of course, research has proven to be daunting. Stam, compounding with other’s research has found that natural laws are indeed random. But, this is not to say that the work is finished, because in fact there is something peculiar per instance about the way by which waves form and crash in such a shape that detail that they are not solely random but systematically random. Stam’s work goes on to detail how computer aided design can further model the natural laws, but of course the research is still lacking.

This was particularly similar to the readings of this week. A-Life and such art asks the big question of What is at work within a given system? By modeling natural life one can begin to ponder of which algorithms are at play within the system and how can better approximate. This of course, with the goal of being able to fully describe the natural laws of said system.


I suggest you to read the second link or perhaps just watch the video in the same second link as it shows a video detailing Stam’s work. A demo of the types of fluid dynamics with which he works and the research he wishes to advance.


Of course Stam’s work stands on the shoulders of past computer aided design. Pseudophysics, as it were was what they relied on. This was, a crude portrayal of the laws of mechanics and they serve their purpose for the time being. Although, as computer processing is increased we are able to generate real physics in real time, the missing puzzle pieces will surely be filled in. This is Jos Stam’s work.


Jos Stam has been revolutionary in the way by which he models real life. A-Life artmay well be his inspiration, right behind nature of course.


P. Jesus Diaz


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