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SC17-009: Shape Optimization with Plato and the Engineering Sketch Pad: Hands on Introduction with Applications

Joshua Robbins, Sandia National Laboratories
Marshall Galbraith, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
John Dannenhoffer III, Syracuse University
Brett Clark, Sandia National Laboratories
This course will provide a hands-on introduction to the open-source Plato and Engineering Sketch Pad (ESP) software packages for optimization-based engineering design. Students will be introduced to the mathematics of gradient-based shape optimization as well as the key features and design of Plato and ESP.  This course will provide a foundational knowledge of design optimization and the Plato and ESP software that researchers and practitioners can build upon for algorithm development and/or real-world engineering applications.


8:30-9:00     (Optional) Get help with ESP installation.

9:00-9:30     Introduction to shape optimization

9:30-12:00  Introduction to the Engineering Sketch Pad

Goal: Students will learn the basic functionality of ESP.

Outcome:  Students are able to create parameterized geometry from scratch and export an attributed mesh for subsequent shape optimization.

Note:  This session includes a 15-minute break.

12:00-1:00 (Optional) Working lunch:  Instructors will be available to students for questions and one-on-one help.

1:00-3:30     Introduction to Plato

Goal: Students will learn the basics of how to use Plato for shape optimization.

Outcome: Students know how to set up and run optimization problems using meshes from the morning session.

Note:  This session includes a 15-minute break.

Important:  Students wishing to participate in the hands-on ESP tutorial will need to bring a laptop computer with ESP installed. Download the latest version from