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Meep (or MEEP) is a free finite-difference time-domain [1] simulation software package developed at MIT to model electromagnetic systems. A number of people, including @aero, have been using it to simulate the evolution of the fields within the EM Drive.


Details regarding setting up Meep for EM Drive simulations are provided below.

Most people are running MEEP on Ubuntu, although @lmbfan has also managed to set it up on Windows via Cygwin.[2]

Ubuntu Linux setup

Default installation

apt-get install meep h5utils

The installation for a single machine is described here. Parallel/cluster installation instructions are documented here

Manual installation

@leomillert recommended[3] the following:

  • Meep 1.3 (compiled & installed from its sources[4])
  • libctl 3.2.2 (compiled & installed from its sources)
  • Guile 2.0.11 (id)
  • Harminv 1.4 (id)
  • OpenBLAS 0.2.12 (installed from its binaries)
  • HDF5 1.9.224 (compiled & installed from its sources)
  • h5utils 1.12.1 (id)

Amazon EC2 AMI

Due to the long computing times required to simulate the frustum until "saturation" (for lack of a better term), you may find it more convenient to run the simulation on Amazon EC2 than on your machine.

An Amazon machine image (AMI) with Meep pre-installed has been made available by @dumbo; the name is ubuntu-trusty-meep-emdrive and the AMI ID is ami-e5cbc9d5. The AMI is based on Ubuntu 14.04.2 (Trusty Tahr). Meep was installed from source using the following dependencies:

  • Meep 1.3 (installed from source)
  • libctl 3.2.2 (installed from source)
  • Guile 2.0.9 (as provided by Ubuntu package guile-2.0)
  • Harminv 1.4 (installed from source)
  • OpenBLAS 0.2.14 (installed from source)
  • HDF5 1.8.15 Patch 1 (installed from source)
  • h5utils 1.12.1 (installed from source)
  • GSL 1.16 (installed from source)

Virtualbox image

TBD: Describe here where to find a virtualbox pre-build image. This will allow everyone to run Meep in the same setup under Linux, Windows, Mac, Solaris, and also provides an opportunity to get *exactly* the same results (ie h5 files), which will simplify comparisons. The overhead of the VM is negligible compared to the benefits.


The instructions below were provided by @leomillert:[5]

1. Execute

wget ";topic=37642.0;attach=1042821" -O NSF-1701.ctl
meep NSF-1701.ctl

After completion of the execution, Meep outputs nine .h5 files (this may take a long time: see below).

2. Create CSV files

h5totxt -t 13 -0 -y -0  ex.h5 > zCopper-exy.csv

3. Open zCopper-exy.csv in a spreadsheet and aero's zCopper-exy.csv (TBD:provide location of aero csv) on another. Open a third spreadsheet that is one spreadsheet values minus the other, entry by entry. Check the highest entry (in absolute value) of the difference. If it's negligible you are good to go. If it's a value too big (greater than 10^-6), your Meep installation isn't in sync with ours, so it's of no use.

4. Now you are good to go. Make a new directory to start the tests. Copy NSF-1701.ctl there.

5. Open NSF-1701.ctl in a text editor and change a single value. For example, (set! high 10.2) means the model is 10.2 inches high. Change the 10.2 to another value and save NSF-1701.ctl with this single change. This is called sensitivity analysis. One value at a time. (set! high 10.2) was just an example, change any value of interest

meep NSF-1701.ctl
h5totxt -t 13 -0 -y -0  ex.h5 > zCopper-exy.csv

6. Compare your new zCopper-exy.csv with your old one. See if there was any relevant change (do the spreadsheet comparison again). If there is no significant change in values, it means the modification made doesn't impact the behaviour of the EMDrive. This is an important information for scientists, so let us know. Otherwise, if there was a significant change, let us know if it was positive or negative and its intensity. If you don't know how, just upload the .h5 files somewhere and we will analyse it.

Candidate parameters for sensitivity analysis

The following change in parameters would benefit from sensitivity analysis.

  • Frequency
  • Property of the metallic material (for the moment copper)
  • Height
  • Diameter of the small base
  • Diameter of the large base
  • Inside material composition (air, vaccuum, ...)
  • Wall thickness

An animation showing the change in each field (including Poynting field) at some well chosen time t and slice s can help visualizing the results and determine whether small changes in values greatly affect the results (or not).

Candidate shapes for further analysis

  • Parabolic
  • Exponential
  • Hyperbolic
  • Shell's extended frustum design with hexagonal section

Creating an animation from a set of images

An animation conveys more information and takes less space than individual images! Here is how to create a mp4 from a set of .pngs:

Using ImageMagick:

convert -antialias *.png emdrive.mp4

Using FFmpeg:

ffmpeg -framerate 10 -i emdrive%03d.png -s:v 1280x720 -c:v libx264 -profile:v high -crf 20 -pix_fmt yuv420p emdrive.mp4

Models & results

  • deuteragenie toy 2D model (TBD find ctl, movie on thread 2)
  • aero bradycone 3D model (TBD find refs.)
  • aero nsf 3d model (TBD find refs.)
  • leo? 3d model with full synchronization and updates for meep 1.3 (TBD find refs.)

Runtime & performance

TBD: Add a table with reported run times. For the moment: count on more than one hour to run the reference .ctl file on a "normal" computer.