Ajay Seth receives Chan Zuckerberg grant for Open Source Software

News - 24 September 2020 - Webredactie 3ME

Ajay Seth, assistant professor at the Department of BioMechanical Engineering, has received a grant of US $190,000 from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) for his research on the development of Essential Open Source Software for Science. Ajay Seth is receiving the grant specifically for his ‘OpenSIM’ project, an open source biomechanics simulator to study movement to improve the usability, computational performance, maintenance and outreach of the OpenSim open source software, and to support the education and training of its users around the world.

Ajay Seth: "I am very grateful and super-excited to have received a CZI EOSS award to develop user-centric tools to build biomechanical models and to speedup simulations for a growing OpenSim community. Our goal is to enable a broader audience from comparative and evolutionary biologists, studying form and function in animal locomotion, to neuroscience and AI researchers, exploring the control of movement, to exploit OpenSim in their work."


OpenSim is an open source biomechanical simulator that models the mechanics of articulating bones and contractile muscles to generate physics-based simulations of movement. OpenSim has a growing community of biomechanists, rehabilitation roboticists, comparative biologists, neuroscientists and computer scientists, now totalling over 12,000 users. From user surveys, Ajay Seth identified two barriers to the broader adoption of OpenSim: 1) usability challenges to build models and to analyse simulations, and 2) computational performance, particularly for developing controllers via machine learning and training deep neural-networks. OpenSim’s modelling operations and analysis algorithms are accessible primarily through its application programming interface. To increase impact, Seth proposes to unleash the potential of OpenSim on a broader user community by enabling graphical model building and analysis creation.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is philanthropic organization that believes open source software is crucial for modern scientific research in order to promote reproducibility and transparency. CZI’s Essential Open Source Software for Science Program supports the maintenance, growth, development and community engagement for Open Source tools critical to science. Read more about the Essential Open Source Software for Science program.