Technology - Written by on June 29, 2011

Jaguar Users Receive HPC Innovation Excellence Awards

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High-performance computing projects creating fuel-saving truck parts and a century-long climate study are recognized for their scientific success

Trailers equipped with BMI Corp. SmartTruck UnderTray components can achieve between 7 and 12 percent improvements in fuel mileage.

Mike Henderson, CEO of BMI Corporation and Smart Truck, was announced as one of nine winners of the HPC Innovation Excellence Awards, given to organizations achieving an important, quantifiable achievement with the help of high-performance computing. The Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility’s (OLCF) Cray XT5 “Jaguar” supercomputer allowed Henderson and colleagues at BMI to design new add-on parts for long haul trucks that dramatically decrease drag and increase fuel-efficiency, resulting in an estimated fuel savings of $5,000 per truck, per year. A key part of the process was creating the most complex model of a trailer to date and studying the airflow around it using NASA’s Full Unstructured Navier Stokes (FUN3D) application.

“What Jaguar and FUN3D allowed us to do is to break the truck into literally hundreds of pieces,” explained Henderson. “We examined the drag on each piece and determined how it interacts across the entire system. With Jaguar, we were able to reduce single run times to less than two hours. Large, fine grain solutions were shown to be very accurate, and aerodynamic development was terrifically accelerated.” FUN3D is a suite of computational fluid dynamics codes for analysis, adjoint-based error estimation, mesh adaption, and design optimization of fluid dynamic simulations.

Beyond substantial reductions in run times, access to Jaguar helped deliver an even bigger win for Henderson and his team. They bypassed traditional physical prototyping and moved from concept to production-ready designs in 18 months instead of the three years they initially estimated it would take on their small in-house cluster.

Gilbert P. Compo of the University of Colorado was also honored with an HPC Innovation Excellence Award for work conducted at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center. Compo was awarded for improving climate data through an international study that produced a highly detailed, 100-year record of past weather. Some of this research was conducted using a 3 million-hour allocation on Jaguar last year. — by Caitlin Rockett