Joshua A. Anderson, Ph.D.

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I am a Research Area Specialist working with Sharon C. Glotzer in the Glotzer Group at the University of Michigan. I study soft matter systems - hard particle self-assembly, polymer self-assembly, active matter, melting in two dimensions and other related topics.

Photograph of Joshua A. Anderson

Software Engineering

I design and develop particle simulation and analysis software. Some of the tools I develop are open source and in use by thousands, other are in house group codes used by Glotzer group. I apply modern software engineering practices to all codes I develop, including good object oriented design, extensive unit tests, and comprehensive documentation.

Recent Publications

Melting behavior of polygons

Melting behavior of polygons

We study the melting behavior of all regular polygons from triangles to tetradecagons. Triangles, squares, and hexagons melt continuously with x-atic phases; pentagons have a first order, one-step melting transition, and regular polygons with seven or more edges follow the same two-step behavior as disks.


Within the granular materials community the Discrete Element Method has been used extensively to model systems of anisotropic particles under gravity, with friction. We implement this method in HOOMD-blue intended for simulation of hard, faceted nanoparticles, with a conservative WCA interparticle potential, coupled to a thermodynamic ensemble.

AABB tree

Hard particle Monte Carlo


We implement multi-CPU and multi-GPU parallel hard particle Monte Carlo (HPMC) methods in HOOMD-blue v2.0. HPMC supports a wide variety of shape classes, including spheres/disks, unions of spheres, convex polygons, convex spheropolygons, concave polygons, ellipsoids/ellipses, convex polyhedra, convex spheropolyhedra, spheres cut by planes, and concave polyhedra.