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SGI Improves NASA Designs
Posted Tue May 21, 2002 @05:18PM
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Hardware The goal at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Facility is to provide sufficient computing power to enable scientists and engineers to test their designs in a “virtual wind tunnel.” Traditional wind tunnel testing is time consuming and expensive — requiring the construction or alteration of physical models for each test — and even the most powerful wind tunnel cannot simulate the conditions of the launch and reentry of space vehicles.

Until the arrival of the 1,024-processor SGI Origin 3800 system, the computing power needed to make the virtual wind tunnel a reality was unavailable. Complete modeling of one aircraft configuration during landing required up to a year on a Cray C-90, imposing serious limits on the use of simulation. The Origin 3800 system can run the same configuration in a matter of hours, so, for the first time, scientists can routinely use simulation to validate their designs under varying conditions. “The Origin architecture has created a revolution in computational fluid dynamic at NASA and will fundamentally change the way aircraft are designed in the future,” said Jim Taft, co-director, Terascale applications group.

The ability to do advanced simulation has already proved its value in NASA’s mision to design a new reusable launch vehicle to replace the space shuttle. During simulation of the X-37 drone, designed to be dropped from the space shuttle to test reentry, a serious flaw was discovered that would have led to catastrophic failure. Millions of dollars and months of time were saved because of the advanced capabilities enabled by the Origin 3800 architecture.

The full article is available in PDF form.

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Business: Blue Ridge Numerics Adds UK Partner
Posted Tue May 21, 2002 @05:00PM
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News Elite Consulting, an engineering consultancy and value-added reseller for PTC’s MCAD products, Pro/ENGINEER and Pro/MECHANICA, has joined the Blue Ridge Numerics Ltd. Strategic Partner Program. This means that CFdesign, the CFD (computational fluid dynamics) package for the engineer and designer, is now part of the portfolio of software available via Elite Consulting.

CFdesign reliably simulates a broad range of fluid flow and heat transfer scenarios. Highly automated functionality and built-in intelligence guide the user, making CFdesign an ideal desktop tool for beginners and advanced users.

With offices in Northampton, Linlithgow and Leeds, Elite Consulting Limited is an independent consultancy providing problem solving, project management, engineering analysis, design and support services to industry. Elite Consulting is a PTC Certified Engineering Provider for Pro/MECHANICA, a reseller for PTC’s MCAD products and a Strategic Partner for CFdesign.

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Research: Engineers Discover Secrets of Soccer Free Kicks
Posted Mon May 20, 2002 @01:39PM
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Application Three collaborating groups of researchers have used wind tunnel testing, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and other computer simulation techniques to unravel some of the underlying mysteries behind "bending" a soccer ball during kicking, which will be a feature of the upcoming Soccer World Cup in Japan and Korea this year. This technically very difficult "art" of scoring goals from the dead ball "free kick" situation has been perfected by such world class soccer players as Brazil's Roberto Carlos, Germany's Michael Ballack, and England's David Beckham. Inspired to uncover the science behind the "free kick" and the soccer ball's dynamic flight, engineers from the University of Sheffield's Sports Engineering Research Group, Yamagata University's Sports Science Laboratory, and Fluent Benelux have carried out a fundamental scientific and engineering analysis of this exciting part of the "beautiful game."

Sports Engineering is a new discipline that applies standard engineering principles and techniques to the research, design and development of external devices used by athletes and sports people to enhance their performance.

( Read Full Article | Research )

SGI Receives Pirelli Award for Scientific Visualization
Posted Sat May 18, 2002 @01:19PM
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Hardware SGI has received the 2001 Jury's Special Prize at the Pirelli International Awards for Multimedia.

Professor Umberto Colombo, President of the Jury of the Pirelli Award, said of the Jury's response to the SGI nomination, "When we looked at the projects created by internationally recognized SGI customers and heard their testimonials, it became clear that SGI high-performance computing and 3D graphics visualization technologies are the best instruments to power scientific research and to educate the public about new research findings."

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Application: CFD Helps Find Cause of Catastrophic Failure in Thermal Oxidizer
Posted Fri May 17, 2002 @06:19PM
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Application By Thomas D. Foust, Michael Rynearson, Ryan D. McMurtrey, Lisa Harvego
Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory

Engineers at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis to determine the cause of a catastrophic failure in a recuperative flameless thermal oxidizer (RFTO), used for the destruction of hazardous compounds. When the unit's feed tubes melted, resulting in system failure, it was unclear whether the cause was a design flaw or operator error. Physical examination of the unit could not conclusively resolve the issue, so INEEL engineers were asked to recreate the failure scenario as a computer simulation. Working from data in the operation logs, they analyzed the last run of the oxidizer using CFD. The results clearly showed why the tubes melted. "The design of this particular model was such that there were recirculation eddies in the inlet plenum," explains Mike Rynearson, a Principal Engineer at INEEL. "These eddies caused below normal air flow into one of the feed tubes. That, combined with higher than normal propane levels at startup and the hot soak bed condition, caused the oxidation front to move into the low flow tube, causing it to overheat and fail. Once it melted, the others quickly followed.

( Read Full Article | Application )

NVIDIA Quadro4 Review
Posted Thu May 16, 2002 @05:35PM
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Hardware Cadalyst has a review of NVIDIA's top of the line PC workstation 3D graphics card. The Quadro4 900 XGL is loaded with 128MB of DDR unified graphics memory that is intelligently shared between the frame buffer, z-buffer, and texture-map cache.
The Quadro4 900 XGL set records for all three benchmarks: 92.76 for C2001, 123.86 (average of high/low scores) for MAXbench v3.1 using the MAXtreme driver, and 103.80 for ProCDRS-03. Those numbers are 10–20% faster than the previous top scores.

The workstation-class graphics card is available with the purchase of new workstations from selected vendors such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard and carry a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $1,495.

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