N-Body Simulations: Fun Fun Fun!

by kengilmer

Several months back and M3DD, in an after hours session in a rather empty and dark cafateria on Sun’s San Jose campus, I saw a demo of Kepler’s Orrery on a laptop by the developer, Simran Gleason.  I was immediatelly intriguged and, when discovering it was available on the iPhone, picked it up.  Physics simulations in general have always interested me and the way that music was incorporated into the simulation was really stunning. Simran’s description of how the simulation worked was inspiring and recently I thought, why not on BUG?

So, after boning up on some of the same materials that Kepler’s Orrery is based on,  I set out to write a BUG app that would run a modest N-Body simulation.  No fancy audio or even color, just the basics.  The app turned out to be pretty easy, using the math code provided by the Princeton coursework.  Then I realized the topic would be great for a tutoral.  Poof!


Of course I had to incorporate some BUG hardware into the mix, so the simulation will apply vectors from the built-in LCD accelerometer.