Science - Written by on July 7, 2012

OLCF Partner Wins Major Industry Award

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GE Global Research is one of many companies using the OLCF's Jaguar to further their research through ORNL's Industrial HPC Partnerships Program.

GE Global Research’s work on Jaguar highlighted

An Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) industrial partner was recently named a winner of International Data Corporations (IDCs) HPC Innovation Excellence Award, announced at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC 12) in Hamburg, Germany.  This award recognizes noteworthy achievements accomplished through the use of high-performance computing.

GE Global Research used the OLCF’s Jaguar supercomputer to model unsteady air flows in the blade rows of turbomachines, such as the turbines that drive the large diameter fans used in jet engines and the generation of electrical power. Understanding these flows is essential to achieving greater efficiency and for GE to gain an edge in an intensely competitive global economy. GE has been building turbomachines for nearly a century, and only recently, with the help of Jaguar, have they been able to confidently model unsteady flow.

“It is a very competitive business,” said Principal Engineer Graham Holmes. “If you could achieve a 1 percent increase in efficiency for a turbomachine, the market would be yours.”

Roughly $200 billion is spent on fuel annually for GE’s turbine products, meaning that a 1 percent improvement in fuel efficiency could save GE customers $2 billion each year. This would set GE apart from its competitors and give the company a huge advantage in such an aggressive marketplace.

“Our Industrial HPC Partnerships Program and the OLCFs expert staff motivates companies to think of bigger, more relevant problems to solve on Jaguar,” said OLCF Director of Science Jack Wells. “GE’s turbine airflow simulations are resulting in a new understanding of this challenging fluid dynamics problem and offers new opportunities to further improve turbine designs. This was a terrific use of Jaguar’s computing power.”

GE Global Research is the second OLCF industrial partner to win an HPC Innovation Excellence Award. SmartTruck Systems, a small, South Carolina-based engineering firm, won an award at ISC last year for using Jaguar to accelerate the development of their UnderTray system, a suite of add-on parts that improve the fuel efficiency for long-haul tractor trailers. The UnderTray system is now in production and was named one of the top 20 products of the year by Heavy Duty Trucking magazine in 2011.

“GE Global Research and SmartTruck Systems demonstrate that large and small companies alike can advance their competitiveness by tackling problems with modeling and simulation,” said Suzy Tichenor, director for the Industrial HPC Partnerships Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “We applaud IDC for recognizing this through their Innovation Excellence Award Program.”

Both awards highlight the advantage available to companies that utilize both the OLCF’s hardware and expertise in tackling their toughest scientific and engineering problems.

GE received its Jaguar allocation through the Advanced Scientific Computing Research Offices Leadership Computing Challenge (ALCC). Open to scientists from the research community in national laboratories, academia and industry, the ALCC program allocates up to 30% of the computational resources at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center and the Leadership Computing Facilities at Argonne and Oak Ridge National Laboratories for special situations of interest to the Department’s energy mission, with an emphasis on high-risk, high-payoff simulations.

However, the ALCC program is just one of several pathways for industry users to gain access to OLCF resources. For more information contact Suzy Tichenor at

For more information on GEs use of Jaguar, visit: /2012/06/15/jaguar-accelerates-design-of-ge-turbomachinery/