Dr Peter Waegli has always used mathematical modelling and simulation to solve problems. He has found that the process of developing computational (physics) models is often the key to understanding the basics governing a physics or engineering problem at hand and hence to its solution. Such model building often starts from "back-of-the envelop" calculations and ends with comprehensive analytical and/or numerical models. It is of high importance that the tool used, supports such an approach and does not impose adoption of a specific-problem solving philosophy.
Over many years of successfully developing and using computational models, Dr Waegli has used programming languages like Fortran and Visual Basic and excellent programs such as Maple® and Mathematica®, but has found that often Excel supports the process from simple calculations to sophisticated models best and much simplifies the exchange of simulations with clients and fellow researchers. Many of the applications described under "Development Projects" are hence based on Excel models. Such models also play an important role in the projects described below.
In his own projects Dr Waegli is currently exploring new ideas and new simulation approaches in three areas:
(I) Development of Excel based photonics models for educational purposes and in general for users of photonics technologies. The use of an affordable and ubiquitous tool will help to broaden the understanding about optical technologies and their governing relationships. This will contribute to the proliferation of photonics applications using cheap and powerful components, which are becoming broadly available at fast pace.
(II) Using computational physics models to research new ideas and new opportunities in the areas of optical and analogue computing arising from new components, materials and manufacturing technologies.
(III) Exploring neural networks as computationally efficient surrogate models for physical components, subsystems and systems to be used for component design optimization and for simulations of systems (see also "Publications").