Intelligent Light and FieldView

Rotor Heads Unite! - AIAA Hover Prediction Workshop

Isometric View Comparison of Iso-surfaces of Q-Criterion=0.001 colored by w-velocity

This month at SciTech, I participated in the AIAA special session on Hover Prediction, also known as the Hover Prediction Workshop. This particular workshop has special meaning to me because I started my career in CFD when I was a Research Scientist at the US Army Aeroflightdynamics Directorate at NASA Ames Research Center. At that time, I was part of a group of engineers tasked with producing the first full helicopter CFD simulation. That goal was achieved, but the community is still working to define the best practices for predicting helicopter hover. It has been well over 10 years since I've presented to this community, so it was like a homecoming having this opportunity to present to them again.

The workshop brought together seven participants submitting data on the same sample cases but using different meshes, different solver codes and different methods. The goal was to be able to compare all the data to maximize the knowledge extracted.​

Intelligent Light supported this effort by contributing time and expertise to develop a standardized, automated, post-processing workflow that facilitated dataset comparison, report generation and knowledge extraction for a diverse set of CFD results. 

Our solution allowed the users to upload data that was then run through the automated routines to normalize the data, produce XDB extracts and publish comparison images. Participants are able to explore the XDB data extracts with their own licensed version of FieldView or by downloading the free viewer: XDBview. Generating images and compact XDB files allowed all users to explore their data interactively on their local systems.

In addition to the workflow engineering, Intelligent Light ran two unsteady OVERFLOW simulations for the workshop. These were executed by Intelligent Light on a remote Cray supercomputer that provided the HPC capability to run multiple full transient solutions for the project.  We'd like to thank our partners at Cray for their support of this Workshop.

Our team included Intelligent Light Application Engineers Atsushi Toyoda and Michael Burklund, and Intelligent Light Applied Research Group member Christopher P. Stone. We also brought in R-Systems, our on-demand HPC computing partner. R Systems provided an anonymous ftp server where the participants could upload their data and worked with our team to implement the workflow using PBS and parallel servers. It was easy to set up and run the post-processing tasks on the remote HPC systems. I'd like to thank R Systems for their help and support on this project.


Leading the Way With In Situ Extracts

At Intelligent Light, we continue to lead the charge for the adoption of in situ, a technique that can maximize insight from simulation runs while also avoiding the problems caused by saving, storing and moving massive amounts of data. Our work this year shows that using in situ allows the CFD practitioner to increase resolution by saving data at a higher frequency, while still saving far less data overall. This reduces disk space and time to read the data in the post-processing phase.

At the AIAA SciTech 2016 conference this month, I shared our in situ work with the AIAA community in two ways: I presented a paper to the MVCE technical committee titled, "In Situ Infrastructure Enhancements for Data Extract Generation", and I presented an in-booth talk about how to add in situ processing into a solver.

Many of the engineers I met at this year's SciTech are running codes at scale on high performance computers but find it impractical, often impossible, to save all of the data on such systems. In situ enables operations such as visualization and analysis, which have traditionally been performed as post-processing, to be executed in the solver itself as it runs. Instead of writing large amounts of volume data, in situ enables the creation of smaller data products such as images and FieldView XDB extract files. XDB files, for example, capture surfaces of interest as well as scalar and vector fields from the solver and write that data in a compact form orders of magnitude smaller than the standard results file.

GT Rotor visualization. Iso surfaces of Q, colored by Cp. Bottom left includes a cross plane of the mesh.

The paper I presented to the MVCE technical committee, "In Situ Infrastructure Enhancements for Data Extract Generation", describes enhancements made by Intelligent Light to VisIt/Libsim that improve its support for batch-creation of VisIt plots, which can then be exported as XDB extracts. Working with James Forsythe of the US Navy's NAVAIR, the CREATE-AVTM Kestrel solver was instrumented with the latest VisIt/Libsim enhancements for batch support and parallel data writing. Kestrel was run at scales up to 1024 cores using a workflow that produced XDB files every 5 solver iterations, an output frequency far higher than would be attempted with volume-based outputs. Even with writing extracts so often, the in situ production of extract files consumed less than 3% of the overall solver runtime. The set of extract files for a single time step is also 21 times smaller than the corresponding volume data, saving both disk space and time to read in large files for subsequent visualization. Several instances of FieldView operating concurrently processed the resulting XDB files into a movie showing helicopter rotor vortices. One strength of this workflow is that it is parallel from data extraction to extract I/O, all the way through XDB visualization. In addition, the workflow is flexible because XDB extracts provide both geometry and fields that can be visualized, enabling fast data analysis that skips the burden of large I/O using volume data.

Intelligent Light's recent VisIt/Libsim improvements make the process of instrumenting a simulation for in situ simpler than ever before. During the SciTech exhibition, I held a talk in the Intelligent Light booth about how to add in situ processing into a solver. The presentation was well attended by users and solver developers from the US, Japan and Israel. There was much interest in adding VisIt/Libsim and XDB data extraction to solvers and the workflow continues to prove its value.


Authors Book Signing Event at AIAA SciTech: Aerodynamics Textbook Introduces Undergraduates to CFD

At this year's AIAA SciTech, Intelligent Light hosted a special community event around the recently published undergraduate level textbook "Applied Computational Aerodynamics: A Modern Engineering Approach". Authors David R. McDaniel, Russell M. Cummings and Scott A. Morton, joined us during the exhibit hall opening reception for lively conversation and to signed copies of their book for other educators, students and aerospace professionals.

Many people purchased the book from Cambridge University Press both in the exhibit hall and brought it to our booth to be signed by the gracious authors.

Intelligent Light contributed to the development of the visualization components of the text and FieldView images are used throughout. Further, students are encouraged to explore sample datasets interactively using the FieldView Demo Version.

The FieldView Demo Version is useful for educators because it allows students to become familiar with the same commercial software they are likely to use later in their CFD careers and because it is free to download and requires no license.

We'd like to thank the authors for their leadership in developing the next generation engineers for the aerospace industry. We thank them for their time and generosity in meeting with people and making this a great event.

Come See Us at AIAA SciTech! (Updated with Schedule)

Twitter users: Follow us (@smartcfd) and the #aiaaSciTech discussion.

At AIAA SciTech we offer a full slate of activities designed to bring you up to date on our latest advances in CFD workflow.

We hope that you will join us in conference sessions and in our booth to learn how industry leaders like you are benefiting from modern, engineered CFD workflows, post-processing and visualization.

We invite you to visit our booth and participate in the sessions.
See you at SciTech!

Request a meeting

Presentations in Our Booth

​Title ​Presenter
​Tuesday, January 5
6:30 pm

​Special author book signing "Applied Computational Aerodynamics: A Modern Engineering Approach". Books available on-site from Cambridge University Press
​Russell M. Cummings, US Air Force Academy
​Tuesday, January 5
7:00 pm
​Hover Prediction Workshop - Extended Discussion​Led by Earl Duque, Intelligent Light
​Wednesday, January 6
9:05 am
​Reduced Order Methods for Engine Inlet Distortion Analysis
​Professor Steven Gorrell, BYU
​Wednesday, January 6
1:00 pm
​Beyond Traditional CFD Post-processing and Automation
​Steve M. Legensky, Intelligent Light
​Wednesday, January 6
1:30 pm
​FieldView 16 and XDBview 2 Product Updates
​Yves-Marie Lefebvre, Intelligent Light
​Wednesday, January 6
3:05 pm
​'Breezy' Mysteries – Using a Combination of High-Fidelity Flow Simulation & Visualization to Extract Greater Understanding of Wind Turbine Wake Interactions

​Sven Schmitz, Pennsylvania State University, presented by Earl Duque.
​Thursday, January 7
9:05 am
​非定常FaSTARコードを用いたスーパークリティカル翼型の遷音速バフェット解析 (Transonic Buffet Simulation over Supercritical Airfoil by Unsteady-FaSTAR Code)
​石田 崇 (Dr. Takashi Ishida), JAXA
​Thursday, January 7
1:15 pm
​In Situ: How to Instrument Your Solver with VisIt and Libsim
​Brad J. Whitlock, Intelligent Light

Conference Sessions

APA-02. Special Session: Simulation of Rotor in Hover I

Chair(s): Nathan Hariharan (CREATE-AV)
Co-Chair(s): Robert Narducci (Boeing Defense, Space & Security)
Monday, January 4, 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM; Coronado E

  • Direct Comparison of Hover Prediction Workshop Results
    (11:30-12:00 pm) - Earl P. Duque; Atsushi Toyoda; Michael Burklund; Nathan S. Hariharan; Robert P. Narducci; Christopher P. Stone

MVC-02. Geometry & Computational Environments
Chair(s): Greg Power (Aerospace Testing Alliance) and John Dannenhoffer (Syracuse University)
Thursday, January 7 2:00 PM - 5:30 PM; Nautical

  • NASA CFD Vision 2030 Visualization and Knowledge Extraction: Panel Summary from AIAA AVIATION 2015 Conference (3:30-4:00 pm) - Earl P. Duque; Scott T. Imlay; Sean Ahern; Chen Guoning; David L. Kao
  • In Situ Infrastructure Enhancements for Data Extract Generation (4:00-4:30pm) - Brad J. Whitlock; Steve M. Legensky; Jim Forsythe

Additional topics in our booth will include:

  • Data management and XDB
  • FieldView HPC
  • Utilization of remote HPC for CFD - CFD in the cloud
  • Hover Prediction Workshop - workflows and results
  • In situ processing with VisIt Libsim
  • Ultrascale CFD - 64k cores and beyond using Edison and Corey
  • Uncertainty quantification and error estimation

Intelligent Light 2016 Calendar - OUT OF STOCK !

Thank you to all who contributed and requested calendars.  We are now OUT OF STOCK!

The Intelligent Light 2016 Calendar proves that cutting
edge CFD can be beautiful as well as instructive. Each
month highlights the work of FieldView and VisIt users in aerospace, automotive, defense and energy from both the academic and commercial worlds.

To get our 2016 desktop calendar sent to you free of charge, please email us!  Please include your name, mailing address, and quantity you'd like to receive.

Available while supplies last.

    PDF3D Announcent: FieldView Released with First Ever CFD 3D PDF Exporter

    Industry Partner Announcement

    FieldView Released with First Ever CFD 3D PDF Exporter

    Intelligent Light, the leader in 3D software for Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has released the first CFD Post-processor with a built-in 3D PDF export feature using the powerful PDF3D system.

    Click to try a 3D PDF file from FieldView! (Requires Adobe Reader 10 or later)

    London, UK, December 15th, 2015 

    Intelligent Light, the developer of FieldView 16 and provider of industry leading software and services for CFD workflows to engineering and research organizations, has joined forces with Visual Technology Services, developers of the renowned PDF3D Report Generation systems, to produce the first CFD tool with built-in 3D PDF interactive report generation features.

    The flagship FieldView application is the most widely used CFD post-processing software for engineering and research. FieldView delivers scalable parallel visualization from laptops to high-performance computing (HPC), including unsteady flows, numerical analysis, extensive solver interfaces and advanced post-processing and visualization techniques.

    "The FieldView 16 development team has been working tirelessly to deliver many valuable new features," commented Steve M. Legensky, General Manager and Founder of Intelligent Light. "The integration of the new 3D PDF publishing feature from PDF3D's technology will transform how our customers communicate and improve success in HPC engineering activities".

    This latest software release allows 3D visuals created in FieldView to be converted into the universally, freely accessible 3D PDF format, enabling faster and easier sharing and distribution of reports to any customer, without them having to install specific software to view it. The reports enable interactive 3D review of surface contours, streamlines and legends. The report encoding methods use Visual Technology Services' highly compressed PRC (ISO 14739) technology, which can produce detailed images from large data files without sacrificing quality.

    FieldView is used in a wide variety of markets including aerospace, automotive, energy and civil engineering. The popular CFD post-processor is used by engineering leaders in large organizations, by engineering consultants and by several top motorsports teams.


    About Intelligent Light

    Intelligent Light (, a US company based in Rutherford, New Jersey, has focused on advanced CFD post-processing and data management software for over 25 years, establishing FieldView as the most widely used post-processing software in CFD. The Advanced Research Group continues to innovate through pure research for real-world computational engineering simulations. With customer success its paramount goal, Intelligent Light is driving real-world solutions to the toughest challenges in CFD today.

    About PDF3D

    PDF3D ( produce a suite of widely respected software products and plugins for engineers, scientists and developers who need to communicate complex data and 3D models to others in the universally accessible PDF format.PDF3D's technology provides the fastest and easiest-to-use, highly compressed 3D PDF conversion available for an ever-increasing range of formats and tools.From 3D CAD to GIS, DWG and LIDAR, PDF3D works closely with users and programmers within the engineering, geospatial, geology, aerospace, architecture, medical and product packaging communities worldwide.

    Contact Details:

    PDF3D, Visual Technology Services Ltd.

    The Courtyard, High Street, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7HP, UK

    Tel: +44(0)7787 517529,

    Contact: Ian Curington,




    Formula 1 & FieldView – Winning CFD Workflows

    Hear it for yourself!  

    LIVE Webinar Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - Register now!

    Torbjörn Larsson, Creo Dynamics AB, has an impressive background in aerodynamics and CFD methodology. His track record in Formula 1, most recently at Ferrari, establishes him as a preeminent CFD workflow engineer. He has been instrumental in building up the CFD department for the Sauber F1 team and has since led the CFD teams at Sauber, BMW and Ferrari to much success in Formula 1.

    Mr.Larsson presented Formula 1 workflows designed with FieldView to a group of over 100 CFD engineers at the 2015 VINAS User's Group Meeting in Shinegawa, Japan. This international audience included CFD engineers from Motorsport, Automotive Manufacturing, Heavy Industry, Government Research Agencies and Academia.

    "Presenting at the VINAS UGM in Japan was an amazing experience. Japan is synonymous with both excellence in engineering and a passion for motorsports. More knowledgeable listeners are hard to find," said Mr. Larsson. "Being able to showcase to this audience how the ultra-fast CFD workflow seen in Formula One has gained further efficiency from the integration of recent FieldView XDB technology was truly inspiring and rewarding."

    F1 teams are among our most demanding customers due to the need to simultaneously achieve breakthrough results in a very short time while building a robust, reliable production workflow.

    Formula 1 teams demand:

    • The ability to manage huge volumes of results data in very short timeframes
    • Ongoing acceleration of their entire CFD workflow
    • Delivery of vital engineering information to the right people in the team, on time, every day.

    Mr. Larsson's presentation focused on designing workflows to meet the demands of Formula 1 CFD teams where huge volumes of data and very short timeframes require innovative and robust automation. His solution includes the use FieldView XDB extracts as a way to reduce data size and achieve required throughput.​

    Mr. Larsson is a fluid dynamics and CFD methodology engineering consultant at Creo Dynamics AB, helping organizations improve the efficiency of their CFD operations.

    Hear it for yourself!

    LIVE Webinar Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - Register now!


    FieldView 16 and XDBview 2 Now Available

    3D PDF export generated in FieldView and seen in Adobe Acrobat Reader® (left) and on a tablet (right). (DrivAer geometry courtesy of TU München, Mesh and simulation by VINAS with Pointwise and Helyx).

    3D PDF export, faster data read, reduced memory usage and many more improvements

    Just a little less than a year has passed by since our release of FieldView 15 and I am happy to announce that our new version, FieldView 16, is ready for download. While software users sometimes feel like installing a new version is not going to impact them much, I am confident that every single FieldView user will benefit from this release.

    You will find that FieldView 16 is faster to read your data than previous versions and will also use less memory. Data read can easily be made even faster and more memory efficient by selecting the right Data Input option. When you don't need to perform Dataset Sampling or to compute a lot of streamlines, select "Less" Grid Processing for faster data input. In cases when you do need that kind of performance, select "More" right from the Data Input panel and you will use more memory to get better performance during you session.

    FieldView 16 is the first CFD post-processor to introduce a built-in 3D PDF export. This standard format is a great way to present and share your results, allowing interactive exploration via rotation, zooming, panning and commenting in Adobe Acrobat Reader and in 3D PDF viewer apps.

    Other highlights of this release include:

    • New Vertices and Shaded Vertices display types for better insight and fast performance
    • The ability to sweep surfaces coming from an XDB extract and to synchronize this operation between multiple datasets for easy animations and side-by-side comparison
    • More control over the location of Surface Flows
    • A new Growing display type for pathlines animation
    • 10x faster read times for AcuSolve users, compared to FieldView 15
    • The ability to read single-file transient data as steady-state
    • Support for results from FLOW-3D v11

    We're also introducing the second version of XDBview. Our free, sharable viewer for XDB extracts, now includes the same sweep capability as FieldView 16 and can now read your CAD geometries in STL format.

    To learn more about these new versions, I encourage you to read our What's New in FieldView 16 document (Japanese version).

    FieldView 16 is a major release. You will need to request new passwords from Intelligent Light. FieldView 16 passwords will work for both version 15 and 16, but as of this release FieldView version 14 and earlier are no longer supported. If you need to test FieldView 16 with your data or workflows before upgrading, feel free to request additional temporary passwords and we'll be happy to provide them free of charge.

    Please contact our FieldView Support Team  or your account manager for more information.

    SC15: Birds of a Feather – Scalable In Situ Data Analysis and Visualization Using VisIt/Libsim

    As ultrascale simulation is developing, so is the need to interpret the data without slowing down workflows. This session, proposed by Intelligent Light and approved by the committee, will present successful uses of Libsim and build a community to share in situ experiences and lessons learned. Libsim is a popular in situ infrastructure that enables tight-coupling of simulations with VisIt, the highly scalable visualization engine created by the US Department of Energy.

    Session Leaders:

    • Brad Whitlock (Primary Session Leader) – Intelligent Light
    • Cyrus Harrison (Secondary Session Leader) – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 

    Thursday, November 19, 1:30PM – 3:00PM ROOM:13A

    Full details at SC15 site


    ISAV2015: First Workshop on In Situ Infrastructures for Enabling Extreme-Scale Analysis and Visualization

    The considerable interest in the HPC community regarding in situ analysis and visualization is driven by the desire to save I/O costs and time, increase accuracy with transient analysis and full utilization of HPC resources. Intelligent Light is a member of the ISAV Program Committee and will participate in this workshop bringing experience from real world work on ultra scale simulation.

    Chair/Organizer Details:

    • E. Wes Bethel – Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
    • Venkatram Vishwanath – Argonne National Laboratory
    • Gunther H. Weber – Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
    • Matthew Wolf – Georgia Institute of Technology

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