SimTK 1.0 Workshop, March 20 & 21, 2008

In conjunction with the SimTK 1.0 release on March 3rd, 2008, Simbios held a two day workshop at the James H. Clark Center at Stanford University on March 20 - 21 to introduce programmers and modelers to the essential features of the toolkit.

SimTK 1.0 provides a one step install to many components needed for the simulation of biological structures including: Linear Algebra, root finding, vector systems, rotations and the expression of directions, optimization, numerical differentiation and integration, as well as Simbody: a system for rigid multi-body dynamics.

In this hands-on workshop students and researchers

  • Installed the toolkit on their own laptops (windows, linux or mac are supported) and ran a test program to verify the installation
  • Learned about Simbody, SimTKs multibody dynamics engine, and how to use it to perform simulations
  • Used SimTK to write a program simulating a pendulum and quickly be able to simulate a double pendulum and more generally a system of interacting rigid bodies
  • Learned how to apply arbitrary forces to your system and how to use mobilizers and constraints
  • Wrote a simulation using constraints
  • Learned about the basic and advanced integrators available through SimTK
  • Understood and learned to take advantage of the architecture of SimTK and Simbody including systems, subsystems and events in your simulation

The second day was devoted to advanced topics and application areas. Students simulated the dynamics of an RNA and a protein molecule. In addition, advanced topics, needed in applications such as neuromuscular dynamics were discussed. The advanced topics were driven in part by the questions from the workshop attendees.

Workshop Materials

Documentation, slides and videos of the workshop sessions can be downloaded from the Documents section of