Mathematica Makes Possible a Vanishing Velodrome at the 1996 Olympics
- Numeric and Symbolic—multidimensional arrays, nonlinear equation solving
- Other—flexible output formatting
Visit the cycling venue at Atlanta's Stone Mountain Park soon after the Summer Olympic Games are over and you won't find a trace of the intricate 75-ton steel structure on which cyclists from around the world will have raced for gold. That's because this world-class velodrome was ingeniously designed with Mathematica to contain 236 unique sections that virtually "snap" together, and then come apart just as easily.
"Even though these 20,000 pieces of welded steel were never once assembled until they were delivered to the official cycling venue, we had complete confidence that they would fit together to form a perfectly closed loop," says design engineer Chris Nadovich. "All calculations for the track's shape—based on Fresnel integrals—and component specifications were done entirely in Mathematica. Achieving these precise results with the budgetary and time constraints we faced would not have been possible with any other software I've encountered."