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NASA Considering Fast Computing Challenge
Posted Tue April 28, 2015 @03:20PM
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News NASA Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program (TACP) is considering a potential Fast Computing Challenge centered around CFD with a $500,000 cash prize. A Request for Information has been posted to determine a Fast Computing community of interest in competing for a potential challenge and gather realistic feedback on the statement of challenge.

Advanced computational tools, such as high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics (CFD) not only enable reductions in ground-based and in-flight testing requirements, but also provide added physical insight, enable superior designs at reduced cost and risk, and open new frontiers in aerospace vehicle design and performance.


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Despite tremendous progress made in the past few decades, CFD tools are too slow for simulation of complex geometry flows, particularly those involving flow separation and multi-physics (e.g., combustion) applications. To enable high-fidelity CFD for multi-disciplinary analysis and design, the speed of computation must be increased by orders of magnitude. This critical need was recognized by the recent CFD Vision 2030 Study conducted by industry and academia under NASA’s sponsorship.

Opportunities exist to reduce time to solution by orders of magnitude by exploiting algorithmic developments in such areas as grid adaptation, higher-order methods and efficient solution techniques for high performance computing hardware. A potential prize challenge will require that speed gains are to be achieved primarily by algorithmic enhancements, not by hardware (i.e., scaling to larger number of cores). Also, the speedup must be applicable across the Mach number regime from subsonic to hypersonic.

The challenge will provide selected base geometries and flow conditions and time it takes to perform simulations using NASA’s FUN3D code. Participants will solve same problems and demonstrate efficiency enhancements by implementing innovative numerical algorithms in NASA CFD codes, or in their own CFD codes, without compromising solution accuracy.

Thus the problem that now takes 3000 wall-clock hours on 3000 cores, for example, will reduce to 30 or 3 hours for 100x or 1000x speed up, respectively. These would be considered to be gains and, thus, Fast Computing capability will allow high-fidelity multidisciplinary analysis to be used in early stages of vehicle development, resulting in novel configurations that are energy efficient and environment friendly toward research and development objectives.

I. Prize Amounts: The purse for demonstrating a LEVEL I - 100x speed up is planned to be two hundred twenty five thousand U.S. dollars; the purse for demonstrating a LEVEL II - 1000x speed up is planned to be five hundred thousand U.S. dollars. Up to 20 percent of the prize purse may be used to reward competitors for successful completion of a qualification round for both LEVEL I, and, LEVEL II. Prizes will be offered to entrants that meet specific requirements detailed should a challenge be announced. II. Eligibility: To be eligible to win a prize, the competitor must (1) register and comply with all requirements in the rules and enter into a team agreement; (2) in the case of a private entity, shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States, and in the case of an individual, where participating singly or in a group, shall be a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States; and (3) shall not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The point of contact is Mr. Michael Hetle, Program Executive, ARMD Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program (TACP), NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street SW, Washington DC 20546-0001. E-mail address: michael.hetle@nasa.gov .

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