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NCSA scales CD-adapco’s STAR-CCM+ to new world record of 102,000 cores on Blue Waters

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) recently set a new world record by scaling CD-adapco’s flagship simulation tool STAR-CCM+® to 102,000 cores on the Blue Waters supercomputer.

STAR-CCM+ is a comprehensive multidisciplinary engineering simulation tool used across many industries to stimulate innovation and lower product development costs. CD-adapco joined with NCSA’s Private Sector Program and Blue Waters manufacturer Cray to push the code to new heights and address the ever-increasing demands of fast turnaround time.

According to Ahmed Taha, the NCSA senior computational resource coordinator who led this extreme benchmarking project, using such a massive number of cores requires a powerful, robust MPI protocol, which was provided by Cray. CD-adapco also fine-tuned their code to improve parallel I/O.

The result of this collaborative effort over the past eight months was a steady increase in scaling, from a 105 million cell model running on 13,000 cores to a 1 billion cell model hitting the 102,000-core peak.

In addition to demonstrating the robustness of STAR-CCM+, the project also showed off the code’s impressive scaling efficiency. The 1 billion cell model was 93% efficient at 60,000 cores, 84% at 71,000 cores, 79% at 79,000 cores, and 75% at 102,000 cores.

“This shows even users who run on lower core counts that they can benefit as well by reducing runtime,” Taha said.

Steve Feldman, Senior Vice President for IT at CD-adapco, commented, “Running STAR-CCM+ on the NCSA Blue Waters machine not only showcased our unrivaled technical competence in scaling large runs, but highlighted our industry-unique licensing model as well. CD-adapco is the only major CAE vendor to provide licenses that are 100% uncoupled from the number of compute cores used in parallel to solve a problem. The financial benefits are huge, whether you run on a hundred or a hundred thousand cores.”

These results were presented at the 2015 NCSA Private Sector Program Annual Meeting and the 2015 Blue Waters Symposium.

CD-adapco is now creating a massive 2 billion cell simulation model which will allow the NCSA team to continue exploring the code’s scaling potential.

About NCSA

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) is a hub of interdisciplinary research and digital scholarship. The Center provides computing, data, networking, and visualization resources and services that help scientists, engineers, and scholars at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and across the country better understand our world. NCSA’s Private Sector Program helps companies in sectors including manufacturing, oil and gas, finance, bio/medical and life sciences, agriculture, and technology gain a competitive edge.

About CD-adapco

CD-adapco ( is the world’s largest independent CFD-focused CAE provider. Our core products are the technology-leading simulation packages, STAR-CCM+ and STAR-CD. The scope of our activities, however, extends well beyond CFD software development to encompass a wide range of CAE engineering services in fluid dynamics, heat transfer and structural engineering. Our ongoing mission is to “inspire innovation and reduce costs through the application of engineering simulation software and services.”

A privately owned company, CD-adapco has maintained 15% organic year-on-year growth over the last 5 years. CD-adapco employs 900 talented individuals, working at 40 different offices across the globe.

Press Contact

Todd Mavreles, CD-adapco
(+1) 713 334 4311

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