pe - Rigid Body Physics Engine

Massively Parallel Framework for Rigid Body Dynamics

Quick Facts

  • Start of the project: 2006
  • Developers:
  • Former Developers:
    • Klaus Iglberger
    • Tobias Preclik
    • Kristina Pickl

Contents of the Research Project

The content of this research is the development of the pe physics engine. pe is an advanced C++ framework for the simulation of rigid, completely undeformable bodies with arbitrary shape. pe offers collision solvers for physically accurate simulations. The major focus of pe are large-scale and massively parallel rigid body simulations with up to several billion interacting rigid bodies. The currently largest simulations feature 10 billion bodies, 10 billion contacts on hundreds of thousands of processor cores of todays largest supercomputers.

For these simulations up to 256 processes were used. Note that in comparison to the maximum possible number of processor cores these are comparatively small simulations. This is due to the fact that the size and number of the particles was chosen such that individual particles can still be distinguished in the visualization and the typical granular flow behavior can be seen.


  • Software infrastructure for various rigid body simulation algorithms (soft contacts, hard contacts)
  • Support for physically accurate rigid (multi-)body simulations
  • Exceptional C++ implementation satisfying the highest demands on software quality
    • Highly modular and flexible software structure
    • Full extensibility by arbitrary algorithms
    • Fully platform independent/portable
    • Intuitive and easy to use interface
    • High performance implementation
    • Complete documentation