This work concentrates on the contact detection of ellipsoids, an enhancement to collision detection which can be used to study the dynamics of multibody systems with frictional contact. A first method for contact detection is posed as an unconstrained optimization problem. This method, while computationally demanding, can find the contact parameters as well as determine the state of the contact of two ellipsoids. Next, a method is presented that is approximately two orders of magnitudes more efficient in finding the contact state of two ellipsoids. However, it cannot find the contact parameters such as contact normal, depth of penetration, etc. Finally, a parallel algorithm for the ellipsoid contact detection problem is presented. The algorithm is implemented on a ubiquitous Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) card and shown to achieve a speedup of up to 70× over a Central Processing Unit (CPU) based method. The proposed methodology is expected to have an impact in granular flow dynamics applications.

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