Talk FlowSimulator -An Python-controlled approach to unify future CFD simulation workflows

Presented by Michael Meinel in Scientific Applications 2009 on 2009/07/25 from 15:30 to 16:15

Over the last years, multidisciplinary simulations got more and more important. Especially, in the field of aerospace science and engineering, the aim is to "fly the virtual aircraft", i.e. to gather as much information about future aircrafts as possible before even a wind tunnel model is built. This includes aerodynamics and aero elastics as well as economic data (e.g. the range of new aircrafts). The underlying simulations incorporate tools from different vendors and research facilities which have to be coupled. Right now, this is often done by simple shell scripts, user interaction and a lot of disk I/O and copying across the network which slows down the complete process.

To overcome this, the FlowSimulator framework has been developed by Airbus, DLR, EADS, and others as a new backbone for scientific computations in the field for aerodynamics and associated topics. It consists of the FlowSimulator Data Manager (FSDM) which is a library providing fully-parallelized data structures for numeric simulations. This library can be extended using a (pseudo-)plug-in mechanism and is largely interfaced to Python. On top of this, there is the FlowSimulator Control layer. This is a pure Python library helping the user to define his workflows in an easy way. With this library, the whole scientific and industrial simulation process can then be controlled and monitored by a Python script.

The talk starts with a brief history of how simulations are done up to now to give some motivational background. Afterwards, new challenges of multi-disciplinary simulations in science (DLR) and industry (Airbus, EADS) are presented to show the needs for a unified simulation platform. Finally the basic concepts of the FlowSimulation targeting those new challenges are presented. The talk will show how Python is being used and describes the advantages and drawbacks for using Python and the Data Manager in massive parallel applications.

After my studies of Information Technologies at the BA Mannheim, I joined the Simulation and Software Technology at the German Aerospace Center in October 2007 where I started working at the C2A2S2E. Here I am member of the core developer team for the FlowSimulator and mainly occupied with tasks in the area of the FSDM.

My experience with Python started back in school when Version 2.3 was released. At Simulation and Software Technology, Python is the preferred language for small to mid scale projects and my personal preference whenever I need to automate administration tasks.

The goal of the Center for Computer Applications in Aerospace Science and Engineering (C2A2S2E) is to establish an interdisciplinary center of excellence in numerical aircraft simulations targeting high-fidelity, multi-disciplinary problems. To achieve this, we operate a high-performance compute cluster. C2A2S2E is funded by Airbus, DLR and the Federal State of Niedersachsen.

DLR is Germany’s national research center for aeronautics and space. Its extensive research and development work in Aeronautics, Space, Transportation and Energy is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. As Germany’s space agency, DLR has been given responsibility for the forward planning and the implementation of the German space program by the German federal government as well as for the international representation of German interests. Furthermore, Germany’s largest project-management agency is also part of DLR. Approximately 5,600 people are employed in DLR’s 28 institutes and facilities at thirteen locations in Germany: Koeln-Porz (headquarters), Berlin-Adlershof, Bonn-Oberkassel, Braunschweig, Bremen, Göttingen, Hamburg, Lampoldshausen, Neustrelitz, Oberpfaffenhofen, Stuttgart, Trauen and Weilheim. DLR also operates offices in Brussels, Paris, and Washington, D.C.
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