View of the Naval Postgraduate School overlooking Monterey Bay. (Photo Courtesy of the Naval Postgraduate School.)

The 19th Annual Review of Progress in Applied Computational Electromagnetics was recently held on the venerable grounds of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA on 24-28 March. The 'ACES Conference' is a forum for discussing issues relevant to numerical modeling with emphasis on applied electromagnetics.
Computational electromagnetics (CEM) enthusiasts from the world over flock to this event each year to learn about the latest and greatest developments in computer software technologies applied to an array of electromagnetics problems. These include the prediction of printed circuit board radiation, the analysis of antenna radiation effects for large scattering structures like aircraft, radar cross section, the simulation of antenna coupling for topside deck environments of ships, and many other types of problems.
The ACES community has also fostered the development of fast solvers as well as new physics-based methods that adapt Maxwell's equations in different ways to more accurately and efficiently compute electromagnetic parameters or "observables" of interest. To accomplish this requires the marriage of electromagnetic theory, electrical engineering, computer science, and mathematics. The ACES community is credited for having helped bring together the respective experts of these disciplines and providing the focus for blending these areas together to support the advancement and practical use of CEM tools. Indeed, the offspring of this marriage of disciplines are the new computational tools, techniques, and technologies for the benefit of the electromagnetics community at large.
During ACES' early period, the application of certain flagship CEM tools that were in fairly wide use at the time and which have a significant user base even today was emphasized. The range of problems focused largely on antenna radiation and coupling and scattering cross section for aircraft and ship problems although other applications were studied as well. In recent years, the range of potential applications of interest to the ACES community has expanded significantly to many other areas and concerns. Today, the annual ACES conference is considered a prime event for sharing ideas on the application of CEM technologies to virtually any electromagnetics problem including EMC. In fact, board-level EMC is an area of increasing interest within the ACES community.

About ACES
The ACES was organized in 1986. Now formally chartered and incorporated as a non-profit organization, ACES is an international, inter-disciplinary, professional society, with a wide range of activities and services. The interdisciplinary scope of ACES is pivotal to maintaining a "cross-pollination" between the high-frequency and low-frequency applications. The primary focus of ACES has been on computational techniques, electromagnetics modeling software, and applications of interest to the scientific and engineering community. Over the years the ACES Conference has been held in cooperation with various private universities, DoD and DoE agencies, and professional/technical groups including the IEEE EMC, AP, and MTT Societies. Support and co-sponsorships have also been provided to ACES by a number of commercial organizations over the years.
Applications of interest include, but are not limited to antennas and their electromagnetic environments, EMI/C, radar cross section, shielding, EMP, microwave components, fiber optics, electromagnetic wave propagation, non-destructive evaluation, eddy currents, and inverse scattering. Interests include frequency-domain and time-domain techniques, from integral equation formulations to diffraction theories and physical optics, as well as many of the newer formulations pertaining to the application of multi-level fast multi-pole algorithms.
ACES activities primarily relate to the following areas:

  • Validation of codes and techniques.
  • Performance analysis of codes and techniques.
  • Computational studies of basic physics.
  • New computational techniques, or new applications for existing computational techniques or codes.
  • "Rules of thumb" in selecting and applying codes and techniques.
  • New codes, algorithms, code enhancements, and code fixes.
  • Input/output issues, which involve innovations in input (such as input geometry standardization, automatic mesh generation, or computer-aided design) or in output, input/output data base management, output interpretation, or other input/output issues.
  • Computer hardware issues including vector and parallel computational techniques and implementation.

At the Annual Conference short courses and software demonstrations are offered. Incidentally, the Annual Conference has been held on the grounds of the Naval Postgraduate School or in Monterey, CA proper since its inception. However, this will change, but more about that later.
In addition to the Annual Conference (with published proceedings), the ACES activities and services have expanded to include a newsletter, journal (administered by an international editorial board), and canonical problem solution workshops (to "benchmark" the performance of codes and techniques) and code user groups. In fact, several members of the EMC Society's TC-9 Technical Committee on CEM are integral participants and contributors on behalf of the ACES benchmarking activities. Furthermore, a Software Exchange Committee and a Software Performance Standards Committee, provide a means of exchanging information about electromagnetic computational codes and their performance in practical applications spanning printed circuit board to large, complex system-level problems.
A database is evolving out of the various ACES activities consisting of computational data to be used for code validation, performance analysis and optimization, as well as information about particular codes and techniques. A primary objective of this database is to establish a "baseline" for the capabilities and limitations of various codes for different applications, so as to provide the best possible user guidelines. In addition, the database provides an informal peer-review mechanism for codes and computational techniques to facilitate a rapid transfer of useful knowledge into the mainstream of the numerical electromagnetics community.
Additionally, the Software Committee maintains a small software library. There are groups within ACES that are researching the use of artificial intelligence/expert systems and in computational electromagnetics education.
The ACES membership spans well over 40 countries. There is also a Chapter of ACES that has formed in the United Kingdom which has been very active in promoting the advancement and application of CEM technologies throughout Region 8. ACES chapter development is being explored elsewhere throughout the world as well.
Worth noting is that the EMC Society Standards Development Committee (SDCom) has a vested interest in the work of the ACES community as it relates to the standardization of methods to validate CEM codes using a set of certified benchmarks. In particular, IEEE P1597.1 and P1597.2 Working Groups sponsored by the SDCom are chartered with the development of a Standard and Recommended Practice for CEM Computer Modeling and Code Validation. The output of the ACES code validation and benchmark committees will certainly contribute a great deal towards achieving the goals of the P1597.1 and P1597.2 Working Groups. This coordination will further cement an important relationship between the EMC Society and ACES in the future.
The current President of ACES is Professor Osama A. Mohammed of Florida International University in Miami, FL. Dr. Mohammed is leading the organization down new paths aimed at expanding the membership base including the development of new chapters worldwide.
Dr. Richard Adler is the organization's internal flame. As a member of the ACES Executive Committee, Dr. Adler has been there from the beginning helping to maintain the organization's focus and direction. He is largely responsible for the administration and logistical planning side of the annual conference, and is involved in the handling of membership and financial matters for the organization.

Herrmann Hall, constructed in the Mediterranean style is host to various technical and social activities during the ACES Conference. (Photo Courtesy of the Naval Postgraduate School.)

On the 2003 ACES Conference
The Naval Postgraduate School has been the primary host location of the ACES Conference since 1985. One of the historical venues that has been used to conduct technical and social activities as part of the Conference each year is the former Hotel Del Monte on the campus of the Naval Postgraduate School, now known as Herrmann Hall. The former hotel forms the nucleus of the campus, with its central building housing the school's headquarters. The Hotel Del Monte once played host to world dignitaries including Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt as well as royalty, heads of state, Hollywood celebrities and business tycoons from throughout the world. The Navy bought the hotel and surrounding property in 1948 and established the Naval Postgraduate School there in 1952.
The success of this year's ACES Conference was due in large part to an energetic and hard working steering committee led by Chairman Dr. Atef Elsherbeni of the University of Mississippi. This year's conference was an unqualified success and was well attended. Approximately 170 attendees participated this year, which is considered a very good turnout especially in view of the worldwide political events of late.
More than twenty individual sessions were held covering the following topics:

  • Advanced computational techniques for system design
  • Scattering by complex objects
  • FDTD methods and applications
  • Hybrid techniques in CEM
  • Modeling tools for EMC and signal integrity problems
  • Finite element methods and applications
  • Time domain numerical modeling beyond FDTD
  • Advances in integral equation techniques
  • Wavelets in electromagnetics
  • Hybrid and coupled time-domain solution methods
  • EMC design
  • Recent antenna applications
  • EM non-destructive testing
  • Partial differential equation techniques
  • Practical applications of method of moments modeling.
Bruce Archambeault Chairs an ACES Technical Session on EMC Design.
Todd Hubing moderates a Plenary Session on Industry Applications of Numerical Modeling Tools to EMC and Signal Integrity Problems.

Osama Mohammed (left) and Atef Elsherbeni (right) present an award to Andy Drozd in recognition of services and contributions to the 2003 Conference.

ACES President Osama Mohammed (right) presents an award to Todd Hubing for contributions to the 2003 Conference.
ACES members Jay Rockaway (left) and Todd Hubing attend the ACES Board of Directors Dinner.

There was also a special session highlighting topics on Japanese Research in Electromagnetic Field Computations. In addition, there were six short courses that were taught including a hands-on workshop and a series of poster sessions covering a range of electromagnetic topics. The agenda was rounded out by a vendor exhibition focusing on the emergence of new CEM software tools.
Dr. Elsherbeni is also acknowledged for introducing several new elements to the Conference this year, most notably and for the first time ever, a live computer modeling and simulation demonstrations forum. The feedback on this was very good and many have volunteered to participate in next year's demonstrations. This is similar to the experiments and computer modeling demonstrations format that are part of the annual EMC symposia, but on a smaller scale and devoted more to general CEM problems.
An awards banquet was held on Thursday, 27 March to recognize the various contributions and support of ACES members including the award for the best paper. Several of our EMC Society members who are on the Board of Directors were in attendance and were there to receive awards. These included Todd Hubing, Bruce Archambeault, and yours truly among other EMC Society members who were session co-chairs or panel moderators.

On the 2004 ACES Conference
The ACES organization is looking at holding the annual conference at different locations in future years. There is a plan presently on the table to hold the 2004 Conference at Syracuse University during the mid-latter part of April. I hope to update our members on the plan as it evolves. The idea is to test drive the conference at different venues around the US.
I want to encourage our EMC Society members to participate in the ACES Conference and to learn more about the organization and membership benefits. To find out more about ACES or to become a member, go to
In closing, I would like to dedicate this article to the memory of Pat Adler, wife of Richard Adler, who unfortunately passed away after a brief illness during the week of the 2003 ACES Conference. Those who knew Pat will recall her dedication to her family and to the ACES organization. She was a tireless supporter of ACES in every respect and just a real nice person to know. We will miss her. Thank you for everything Pat! We express our sincere condolences to the Adler family.

Until next time… EMC



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