In 1998, George Karniadakis and his team at Brown University were just getting their blood flowing. They completed a 3D simulation of movement through a single arterial bifurcation. They were happy just to see circulation in that one small branch. It gave them insight into the impact arterial bypass grafts have on a patient.At SC05, the international supercomputing conference held in November 2005, they completed a simulation more than 20 times larger than that work from just a few years ago. In fact, it was many times larger than any simulation ever completed of blood flow in the human body.
Their simulation included 55 arteries and 27 bifurcations, accounting for every artery in the human body larger than about two to three millimeters in diameter. Seventeen bifurcations were modeled in 3D, and another 10 were modeled in 1D. No one had ever attempted to model more than two arteries at the same time. “Our simulation included 100 million grid points,” explains Karniadakis. “Before, the state-of-the-art was five million grid points. By next year, we want to be looking at one billion. This is beyond any single computer. The collective power of the TeraGrid is necessary.”