Graphical HPC Application Suite for Supporting the Product Simulation Lifecycles
The integration of Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) into the product design and manufacturing process has shown to be a major benefit in terms of reducing both time and cost as well as increasing reliability. However, based on current practices the full potential of these concepts have yet to be achieved due to two major obstacles. The first is that the cost of commercial end- to-end systems such as Fluent, Unigraphics, and ANSYS tends to be quite high. The second is that many of these systems tend to be general purpose and non-intuitive to use by non-simulation experts. In addition, due to the increasing complexity and scale of the current problem domains being addressed, the simulations that need to be run must be coupled with high performance computational techniques. In response to this need there are several open-source products developed under various DOE projects, such as SciDAC, that address a part of the simulation lifecycle, but none offer a complete solution. Moreover, most of these solutions come in the form of toolkits, which lack intuitive user interfaces and have a relatively high learning curve thereby limiting their adoption into commercial product design and manufacturing. We propose to develop a suite of open source applications that will address the complete simulation lifecycle (from geometric modeling to visualization of simulation results). The suite will be based on a flexible framework built upon existing open source HPC Toolkits included CGM, OpenCASCADE, MOAB, Meshkit and ParaView. The applications will be customizable and can therefore be targeted towards specific vertical markets. The initial problems we have chosen are computational fluid dynamics, which will use the Nek5000 solver developed by Argonne National Labs, and MCNP, a general-purpose Monte Carlo N-Particle code for neutron, photon, electron, or coupled neutron, photon, and electron transport. The system will be designed so that different toolkits can be interchanged in order to address the needs of a particular application area. The suite will use a consistent graphical user interface between the different applications in the suite. The suite will include a Geometric Model Builder for defining and modifying geometric representation of the problem domain, a Simulation Builder for adding the additional information required to define an analysis as well as an interface to the mesher and solver, and a Results Visualizer for exporting the results from the simulation. All the applications will support a client/server model so that a user can make use of HPC facilities from his or her computer. Finally, the suite will provide the ability for analysis experts to predefine conceptual simulation models that a non-expert will be able to apply to a specific geometric models they have defined. The technology developed here will also benefit the larger scientific computing community since the code will be released under open source licenses (non- reciprocal Apache or BSD) within open source communities. Thus researchers, educators, and commercial enterprises will be able tune the suite to their particular workflow, easily research specialized areas of interest, and leverage international communities to develop leading edge technology.
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