How to do 3000 years of research in one year

December 15 / 172

Aircraft engine expert and mechanical engineer Richard Sandberg, in collaboration with General Electric, will use some of the world's fastest computers to complete 3000 years of research in a single year.

Professor Sandberg's research will advance engineering design of greener and cleaner methods of air travel. 

The US Department of Energy's INCITE program and the Swiss supercomputing centre (CSCS) allocated 100 million core computer hours to the project which seeks to advance scientific innovations and address critical societal problems.

"With the computing time we have been awarded we will look at the turbulent flow in components of aircraft engines, such as the low-pressure and high-pressure turbines," Professor Sandberg said.

Although the performance of current turbines has considerably improved over the last decade, it is difficult to make further advances with existing tools.

But with the use supercomputers and support from the INCITE and CSCS awards, nearly 3000 years of research could be completed in a year.

"If you were to continuously use a desktop or laptop computer with four cores, you would need 25 million hours or 2,854 years to finish your simulations and use 100 million core hours. But with our code and access to supercomputers, we will use 100 million core hours in one year," he said.

This research project directly contributes to Professor Sandberg's broader vision of engineering greener and cheaper methods of air travel.

The 100 million core hours received by Professor Sandberg represents close to half of the entire 2016 National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme (NCMAS) allocation for all computational work in Australia.

Story by Annie Rahilly

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