Keywords: graph networks, rigid body dynamics, physics
TL;DR: Face to face, multi-index collisions improve accuracy and efficiency of graph network models for rigid body dynamics
Abstract: Simulating rigid collisions among arbitrary shapes is notoriously difficult due to complex geometry and the strong non-linearity of the interactions. While graph neural network (GNN)-based models are effective at learning to simulate complex physical dynamics, such as fluids, cloth and articulated bodies, they have been less effective and efficient on rigid-body physics, except with very simple shapes. Existing methods that model collisions through the meshes' nodes are often inaccurate because they struggle when collisions occur on faces far from nodes. Alternative approaches that represent the geometry densely with many particles are prohibitively expensive for complex shapes. Here we introduce the ``Face Interaction Graph Network'' (FIGNet) which extends beyond GNN-based methods, and computes interactions between mesh faces, rather than nodes. Compared to learned node- and particle-based methods, FIGNet is around 4x more accurate in simulating complex shape interactions, while also 8x more computationally efficient on sparse, rigid meshes. Moreover, FIGNet can learn frictional dynamics directly from real-world data, and can be more accurate than analytical solvers given modest amounts of training data. FIGNet represents a key step forward in one of the few remaining physical domains which have seen little competition from learned simulators, and offers allied fields such as robotics, graphics and mechanical design a new tool for simulation and model-based planning.
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