John F. Abel is a Professor Emeritus from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is the author or co-author of over 200 papers and reports, dealing mainly with computer-related topics in structural engineering. He is the co-author (with C. S. Desai) of one of the earliest published textbooks on the finite element method, Introduction to the Finite Element Method (1972).

He has worked on such topics as concrete shells (especially cooling towers), membrane roofs, domes, steel framed structures, earthquake engineering, computer-aided design, computational mechanics, and interactive computer graphics for engineering applications and education.

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