A multiscale modelling competition recommended by researchers – Modelathon 2017

All of last year’s participants felt they gained new skills from our MultiScale Modelling competition ‘Modelathon’ and would recommend it to a friend*.

Find out more….

To register and find out more about this year’s event visit our webpage: Modelathon 2017


This year’s challenge was to design adequate footwear to prevent ulcers in the foot of a diabetic patient


The challenge explained

At the 2016 Modelathon, participants were asked to design adequate footwear to prevent ulcers in the foot of a diabetic patient. The topic was inspired by a real-life problem faced by people affected by diabetes type 2, who often suffer from these injuries and benefit from special footwear that relieves the pressure under their foot soles. This challenge was formulated as a multiscale project involving three main modelling areas: rigid lower body modelling, foot finite element modelling and cardiovascular modelling. Participants were divided by domain expertise and were initially asked to a specific challenge from each of the modelling areas. On the second day of the event, new teams were formed and a modelling competition between each team took place using the results obtained from the first day challenges.

MultiSim’s research staff designed the challenges so that the participants could approach them in different ways, solving the individual parts using models of different complexity, with features ranging from subject specific to generic or based on literature. This flexibility gave to the teams the possibility of integrating the different models they created in total freedom and working towards original solutions to the challenge.

All groups were very imaginative and managed to integrate the information obtained from the multiscale approach. On the third day, each team presented their work and outcome to the other teams and the MultiSim panel. All teams gained insight on the problem, identifying critical features for footwear design that would help relieve foot pressure. The winning team were even able to design a footwear prototype and test different material properties.

What did participants have to say about Modelathon 2016?

Peter Eltes presents his team's results
Peter Eltes (second from right) and his team present their results.

We asked Dr Peter Eltes, a member of the winning team and a medical researcher at the National Centre for Spinal Disorders, Hungary about his experience at the Modelathon. Peter said, “I feel the Modelathon is a unique experience for any PhD student or post-doc researcher in the field of biomechanics, computational modelling or image-based computer simulations. I enjoyed the interdisciplinary character of the challenges. Each team had participants with a good mix of clinical and researcher backgrounds within the field of biomechanics”.

Peter added, “It was a great experience working with people from different specialities to solve the problems. We joined our knowledge and creativity together, I feel this event simulates a real world experience of finding a solution to a clinical problem where people from diverse academic backgrounds provided different perspectives. This atmosphere played an enormous role in the creative part of the problem-solving process! The support provided by the MultiSim IT group and the software companies was very helpful.”


Technical specialists working in the industry gave hands-on support to each group

How did technical experts from industry support this event?

A key feature of the Modelathon is hands-on support from technical specialists working in the industry. This year’s event included support from many leading industry providers in the areas of multiscale modelling. John McCready provided participants hands-on support with technical software.  John holds an MSc in Advanced Composite Materials and an MEng in Aerospace Engineering. He works as a Solution Consultant at SIMULIA (Dassault Systèmes) providing technical expertise to customers.

SIMULIA applications for finite element analysis, multiphysics-multiscale simulation, multibody simulation, process automation and design exploration are an integral part of the Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE platform. These industry-proven applications are used to accelerate the evaluation and improvement of product performance, reliability and safety, before committing to costly and time-consuming physical prototypes.

John said,“Witnessing collaboration and innovation first hand is always a delight if a little daunting surrounded by future leaders in their respective fields. Dassault Systèmes’ mantra is to ‘harmonise product, nature and life’ – precisely what this year’s Modelathon strived to accomplish in developing a physical solution for the treatment of symptoms of an illness.Driven by the concept of virtual and realistic simulation to better understand datasets and their respective correlation MultiSim showed how integration of various techniques; multi-body systems, kinematics, finite element and fluid flow here, can and was used to investigate real life events and produce actual solutions to an everyday problem for an increasing percentage of the population.”


Professor Damien Lacroix
, Research Director of MultiSim summing up the event said, “The Modelathon was again a great success with four teams competing each other to solve a multi physics problem related to foot ulcer for diabetes patients. What amazes me most about this event is how a group of talented early-career researchers can come up with a solution to a complex problem by working together. I wish the daily work of researchers would resemble more the dynamics we are able to create during the Modelathon.”


*All respondents to our post-event survey said they would attend again and recommend this event to a friend!