Stanford Researchers Break Million-Core Supercomputer Barrier
Researchers at the Center for Turbulence Research set a new record in supercomputing, harnessing a million computing cores to model supersonic jet noise. Work was performed on the newly installed Sequoia IBM Bluegene/Q system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.
Stanford Engineering’s Center for Turbulence Research (CTR) has set a new record in computational science by successfully using a supercomputer with more than one million computing cores to solve a complex fluid dynamics problem—the prediction of noise generated by a supersonic jet engine.
Joseph Nichols, a research associate in the center, worked on the newly installed Sequoia IBM Bluegene/Q system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (LLNL) funded by the Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Sequoia once topped list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, boasting 1,572,864 compute cores (processors) and 1.6 petabytes of memory connected by a high-speed five-dimensional torus interconnect.A floor view of the newly installed Sequoia supercomputer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. (Photo: Courtesy of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories)
Because of Sequoia’s impressive numbers of cores, Nichols was able to show for the first time that million-core fluid dynamics simulations are possible—and also to contribute to research aimed at designing quieter aircraft engines.
THE PHYSICS OF NOISEAn image from the jet noise simulation. A new design for an engine nozzle is shown in gray at left. Exhaust tempertures are in red/orange. The sound field is blue/cyan. Chevrons along the nozzle rim enhance turbulent mixing to reduce noise. (Illustration: Courtesy of the Center for Turbulence Research, Stanford University)
The exhausts of high-performance aircraft at takeoff and landing are among the most powerful human-made sources of noise. For ground crews, even for those wearing the most advanced hearing protection available, this creates an acoustically hazardous environment. To the communities surrounding airports, such noise is a major annoyance and a drag on property values.