Computing and Visualization in Science

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 79–88 | Cite as

Scalable shape optimization methods for structured inverse modeling in 3D diffusive processes

  • Arne Nägel
  • Volker Schulz
  • Martin SiebenbornEmail author
  • Gabriel Wittum


In this work we consider inverse modeling of the shape of cells in the outermost layer of human skin. We propose a novel algorithm that combines mathematical shape optimization with high-performance computing. Our aim is to fit a parabolic model for drug diffusion through the skin to data measurements. The degree of freedom is not the permeability itself, but the shape that distinguishes regions of high and low diffusivity. These are the cells and the space in between. The key part of the method is the computation of shape gradients, which are then applied as deformations to the finite element mesh, in order to minimize a tracking type objective function. Fine structures in the skin require a very high resolution in the computational model. We therefor investigate the scalability of our algorithm up to millions of discretization elements.


Shape optimization High performance optimization Inverse problems 



This research is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) as part of the collaborative “Exasolvers” project in the Priority Program 1648 ”Software for Exascale Computing” (SPPEXA). The authors gratefully acknowledge the computing time granted by the HLRS, Stuttgart, Germany, and provided on the supercomputer Hermit.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arne Nägel
    • 2
  • Volker Schulz
    • 1
  • Martin Siebenborn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gabriel Wittum
    • 2
  1. 1.Universität TrierTrierGermany
  2. 2.Goethe UniversitätFrankfurt a.M.Germany

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