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24-786  GEOMETRIC MODELING  Spring 2002

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Michael E. Mortenson
Geometric Modeling 
Wiley Computer Publishing
ISBN 0-471-12957-7 
(second edition)

See the [ Reference ] page for other useful reference books.


Prerequisites: Linear Algebra, Calculus

Recommended Background: programming experience in at least one language (C, C++, Java, Perl, Basic, Fortran, Matlab, etc.)


Reading: Reading assignments are given every week from the textbook and handouts.  Check the "Schedule" section regularly for each week's reading assignment.  

Problem Sets: 11 problem sets, most with some computational assignment, are given to help students better understand the course material.   The programming part of the assignments is not too intensive (if you know the basics of programming in one language), and the introduction to necessary programming environments and software tools is provided by the instructor.  Problem sets are downloadable from the "Schedule" section.

Project: After the spring break you will be working on a term project, which can be: (1) a survey project, or (2) a programming project.

Individual Effort: The solutions to all the problem sets and the project that you hand in should be generated by your individual effort.  It is ok to discuss the approach to problems with other students, but the written solutions and programs must be your own work and should not copied from someone else.  As a guiding principle, oral communication concerning the problem sets is allowed, but not written communication.

Hand-in Directory:  Hand in your solutions to the problem sets by the beginning of the class (3:30pm) on the due date. Program source codes and results should be copied to one of the following afs directory by the same due date and time:

Late Policy:  20% off for one CMU class day, 50% off for two CMU class days, and no point afterward.  For example, suppose the due date is 2:30m Wed afternoon, you will lose 20% if you hand it in by 3:30pm Thr, 50% by 3:30pm Fri, and 100% afterward.

Grade Correction: Please review a graded Problem Set right after it is returned to you to make sure that there is no error in grading.  If you find an error, you need to let the instructor know as soon as possible but no later than a week from the date the Problem Set is returned to have the grade corrected.


The following is the tentative description of the project that you will be working on toward the end of this course.  The due dates and the mission statement are subject to change.
  • Schedule
    • 3/27 (Wed) One page project proposal due
    • 4/22 (Mon) Project Report due
    • 4/22 (Mon) and 4/24 (Wed) Project Presentation
  • The project will count 14% of the total grade.  Please "design" the difficulty and coverage of your project so that you will spend the time and effort that you would spend for three or four Problem Sets.
  • You can do either a "Survey Project" or a "Programming Project."
    • In a Survey Project, you are asked to find at least 6 technical papers on your topic from conference proceedings and technical journals. Read these papers, summarize problems, categorize previously proposed approaches, discuss the pros and cons of each approach, give discussion and observation. and wrap up with future directions that you think might be promising.
    • In a Programming Project, you are asked to define a problem (just like in a Problem Set), write a code, show the results with several test cases, and wrap up with discussion and observation. Define your programming task so that the difficulty and the coverage of your project is appropriate, that is, approximately two or three times more difficult than programming assignments in Problem Sets.
  • How you proceed:
    • Step 1: Find a topic related to geometric modeling that you are interested in.
    • Step 2: Choose the type of your project, Survey Project or Programming Project.
    • Step 3: Write and hand in a one page project proposal (Due: 3/27). This is to give me a chance to give you feedback on your topic if it seems too easy or too tough. (You can later change the description of the proposal with my permission.) Include the following items in your proposal.
      • Your name
      • Project Title
      • Project Type: "Survey" or "Programming"
      • Mission Statement: Describe the goal and coverage of your project.
      • Background information: Explain why you are interested in this problem. Also give some background, for example, if this is a part of your senior project, MS project, or Ph.D. project.
    • Step 4: Work hard for a couple of weeks :-)
    • Step 5: Write a Project Report as a html document and hand it in as the following afs file (Due: 4/22):
      You can use as many html or wrl files as you like in your project directory, if they are linked from your index.html file. The format of the report is open, but your report should include the following information:
      • Survey Project: problem summary, classification of previous approaches, discussion of pros and cons of each approach, discussion and observation, and a list of the references. Also hand in one copy of all the reference papers.
      • Programming Project: problem summary, description of your algorithms, results of some test cases, and discussion and observation. Hand in your source code in the following directory:
    • Step 6: Project Presentation: 4/22 (Mon) and 4/24 (Wed). Each student has 20min. to present his/her project and answer questions. The order of the presentations will be decided on the first day, so everyone should prepare their presentation material by 4/22.

Policy on Missed Quizzes

A missed quiz counts as zero credit unless you get permission in advance from the instructor.  If you are sick a note from the student health center is also required.  A make-up quiz may not be of the same difficulty as the in-class quiz.   The instructor can also give an oral make-up quiz. 

Estimated Workload

Time management is a critical factor to your academic success, as to any professional environment.  Being a 12 unit course it is expected that each student will devote at least 12 hours a week to: (1) reading assignments, (2) attending lectures, (3) completing problem sets, (4) reviewing lecture materials, and (5) preparing for midterm exams.   

Your Grade

Your final grade will be determined by an absolute method of grading.   This is to allow you to obtain a grade based on your individual performance without having to compete with others.  It is thus possible for the whole class to get an A grade or in the other case for the whole class to get a C grade.  (Of course we hope that you all will work hard and get an A!)  The evaluation of your work in the course will consist of 11 Problem Sets and 3 Quizzes. The final letter grade ranges are:  

A: 100-90%    B: 90-80%   C: 80-70%    D: 70-60%


Percent of Final Grade
11 Problem Sets 44%   
3 Quizzes 14 + 14 + 14 = 42%   
Project 14%   
Total 100%   
Class Email Distribution List and B-board

The class email distribution list will be created (+dist+~shimada/dlists/, and all the important announcement will be emailed to students.

The class b-board is also available at academic/mech-e/24-786 for students to exchange discussions on Problems Sets.  Announcements are also posted on the b-board.


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