NCSA Private Sector Program scales Fluent to 36,000 cores on Blue Waters

11.17.14 -

ANSYS and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) announced today that they have scaled ANSYS® Fluent® to 36,000 compute cores – an industry first that could lead to greater efficiencies and increased innovation throughout manufacturers’ product development processes.

As companies increasingly seek to minimize time, quality and cost pressures by using engineering simulation, they have been constrained by compute power. High-performance computing (HPC) has become a core strategic technology enabling enhanced insight into product performance and improving the productivity by considering more design variants.

The combination of the Blue Waters supercomputer and the Cray Inc. engineering team, the NCSA Private Sector Program technical team, and recent enhancements to the Fluent code enabled organizations to study the most complex and realistic simulation cases. Blue Waters uses hundreds of thousands of computational cores to achieve peak performance of more than 13 quadrillion calculations per second. That advanced compute power is helpful for applications like Fluent, an industry-leading computational fluid dynamics solution used by organizations around the world.

“We’re connecting all the dots,” said Ahmed Taha, the NCSA senior computational resource coordinator who led this extreme benchmarking project. “NCSA is unique in connecting the industrial users, the hardware and software vendors, and the domain expertise of our staff. In addition, this level of scalability for a commercial fluid dynamics solver is unprecedented on our system, especially considering the complexity of the model physics with transient, turbulent flow, chemical species transport and multiple non-reacting flows.”

“Compute power has increased a thousand-fold over the last decade – enabling engineers to solve problems that were once unsolvable,” said Wim Slagter, ANSYS HPC product manager. “While most organizations don’t have access to 36,000 cores today, it won’t be long before these extreme core counts are commonplace. And even today’s users who are running at much lower core counts will see direct benefits through considerably greater efficiencies. The results will be more amazing products delivered to customers much faster than ever.”

ANSYS and NCSA plan to continue exploring the limits of scale-out computing, including testing and improving the scaling of ANSYS fluid dynamics models involving even more complex physics. Other collaborative efforts include running Fluent on NVIDIA graphics processing units (GPUs), as well as testing the supercomputing limits for applications such as turbomachinery using ANSYS CFX®.

National Science Foundation

Blue Waters is supported by the National Science Foundation through awards ACI-0725070 and ACI-1238993.