Intelligent Light and FieldView

Desktop Engineering features Intelligent Light cloud success in article: CFD in the Cloud

Desktop Engineering features Intelligent Light cloud success in article: CFD in the Cloud

Desktop Engineering took their first in-depth look at cloud computing for engineering. Many organizations are now using or considering cloud systems for simulation but few applications are well suited. CFD is a particular challenge due to its complexity and data size.

The article shows how Intelligent Light has been successfully using Cloud Computing, describes customer benefits, and highlights two case studies. Matthew N. Godo, Ph. D., FieldView product manager has been using cloud resources to continue his multi-year study into CFD workflow and the study of bicycle wheel aerodynamics.

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Intelligent Light Pioneers High Performance Cloud-Enabled CFD

Intelligent Light is enabling computational fluid dynamics on the cloud, announcing an agreement to make FieldView™, its market-leading CFD post-processing software, available on the cloud computing capability offered by R Systems, a leader in HPC resources on demand.

Providing immediate access to flexible computing capacity, the arrangement gives FieldView users the ability to scale up using parallel processing or scale out with concurrent batch processing to meet capacity needs during peak loads, special projects, or tight deadlines. FieldView’s client-server architecture enables data to remain on the cloud while interactive work is performed from the user’s desktop. In addition, any CFD users who compute on the R Systems cloud can access FieldView for post-processing.

"Everyone is talking about cloud computing, but very few people are talking about successfully using it for CFD simulation," says Steve Legensky, founder and general manager of Intelligent Light. "Our arrangement with R Systems securely and efficiently addresses the challenges that large, complicated datasets can pose on the cloud. Our intention is to enable engineers and researchers to use FieldView-based post-processing as an integral part of the infrastructure of a cloud-based CFD workflow."

"R Systems' high performance computational resources combined with Intelligent Light's FieldView post-processing software provides clients an innovative tool suite that allows for maximum productivity. We see FieldView as an key enabler for CFD users wishing to leverage cloud-based resources," states Brian Kucic, R Systems' business principal. "R Systems is pleased to partner with leading independent software vendors (ISVs) such as Intelligent Light to help increase widespread adoption of HPC resources."

Testing the process

In order to test the viability of CFD post-processing on the cloud, Intelligent Light launched a pilot study, selecting R Systems as the cloud provider. The study, a wind turbine aerodynamics problem with more than 40 cases, encompassed both steady cases for power generation and unsteady cases for wake propagation. The resulting 1.4 terabytes of data were post-processed by FieldView on the cloud in both parallel and concurrent batch modes using FieldView client-server operation. The data remained on the cloud machine in all cases and was remotely accessed from a laptop. With 77,000 core hours of computation, the results proved that cloud-enabled CFD is not only possible, but valuable in terms of time and cost savings.

Accurate 'pay as you go' answers

Organizations with their own HPC resources will find cloud computing useful during peak workloads or for testing out new tools and processes without impacting their production machines, and Legensky believes small and medium size engineering enterprises will also gain significant benefits from cloud-enabled CFD.

"With relatively inexpensive HPC cloud resources and the flexibility and capabilities of FieldView, users can get the exact answers they need on a 'pay as you go' basis," he explains. "We're removing the barriers of cost, infrastructure and specialization, and leveling the CFD playing field for all users."

Legensky notes that, while the high cost of HPC equipment and the significant time and costs related to CFD solvers tend to attract the majority of management attention, the need for robust, reliable post-processing should not be overlooked. In fact, a reliable remote post-processing capability should be considered a critical component of CFD in the cloud. "Post-processing is the critical time when decisions get made," he says. "It's really the most important time in engineering - raw data has become something actionable, something you can learn from. One of FieldView's greatest strengths is its ability to quickly get users from data to decisions."

Automation, batch keys to efficiency

The advent of HPC may mean that ever larger datasets can be run, but without a highly efficient, automated post-processing workflow, "you're exposing yourself to a data tsunami," Legensky says. "You can compute really big solutions in client-server or local modes, but if you have to read the whole file every time, or have too much data to handle, you're losing valuable time. Automation and data management are key."

Automating tasks such as repeating the same set of calculations for hundreds of design variations, or creating images and animations, means increased efficiency, better accuracy, and faster results. Complete backward compatibility ensures that automated routines can be extended for use with newer datasets and future versions of FieldView, thus protecting the investments made in developing automation routines.

FieldView's feature set allows users to easily bridge the gap from interactive to fully automated and reliable batch post-processing. Earlier this year Intelligent Light introduced an innovative batch-only licensing option called FieldView Batch Packs which enable the use of multiple instances of FieldView on an HPC server for concurrent processing at a fraction of the cost of standard FieldView licenses. Concurrent batch processing reduces turnaround time and enables high throughput for transient simulations, both key to streamlining the CFD workflow. Batch operation will be supported on the R Systems cloud service.

Reaping the benefits

The power of a highly efficient CFD workflow is readily apparent in Formula 1 at Red Bull Racing, where more than 80% of their aerodynamic design is driven through CFD and FieldView. With thousands of cores running concurrently, the team's compute requirements are massive, as are the resultant datasets. While in general post-processing can take twice the time of a single solver run, nearly 90% of Red Bull Racing's post-processing tasks are automated via batch processing. Every morning, engineers receive automatically generated FieldView PDF reports, which can run to several hundred pages and include hundreds of animations. By interacting with reports rather than software, the engineering team is free to focus on results, not the process itself. A detailed case study (PDF) is available at the Intelligent Light website.

Recent research conducted by Intelligent Light on simulating the aerodynamics of a bicycle wheel also illustrates the challenges presented by large, complex data and how FieldView’s automation tools help solve them. The study, which features unique customized visualizations, is available here.

Technology, Teamwork, Trust: About Intelligent Light
For more than 25 years, Intelligent Light has been solving the toughest engineering challenges faced by manufacturing and research organizations around the world. Architected for today's high performance computing environments, the company's flagship FieldView™ family of products combines true ease-of-use with the industry's most sophisticated CFD post-processing and large-data visualization capabilities. Intelligent Light's Applied Research Group conducts pure research on the cutting edge of CFD while customizing and delivering real-world solutions to customers in industries such as aerospace, automotive, general manufacturing and turbomachinery. Composed of leading experts in CFD, computer science, visualization and more, with a customer-focused, results-oriented philosophy, Intelligent Light drives CFD simulation for increased productivity, faster answers, deeper insight and maximum return on investment. Visit for more information.

Fast, Flexible, Freedom: About R Systems
R Systems provides technical expertise and optimized HPC cluster resources to the commercial and academic research communities. The company's flexible service offerings and simplified business model provide the power of world class computing to minimize time, maximize effectiveness, and add value to researchers' HPC results. R Systems' objectives focus on providing fast and flexible HPC implementation, leaving users with the freedom to manage their core research objectives. Supported by expert technical staff, the custom system configurations allow researchers to avoid tedious systems management, making every research project a value-added experience. R Systems' agnostic approach to OS, hardware, and software ensures that a custom solution will match researcher usage requirements and expectations. This results in productive research throughput while saving time and reducing cost. Visit for more information.

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FieldView and HPC powering cost-effective productivity gains

Scale up: The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), running FieldView Parallel realizing a published 11.5x performance speedup for just twice the price of standard FieldView license.

Scale out: The F1 Red Bull Racing team recently added a 20-pack of batch-only licenses to their FieldView-based automated post-processing workflow.

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Intelligent Light Makes the Benefits of High Performance Computing Accessible to CFD Users at All Levels

Legensky to Deliver Masterworks Presentation on HPC in Wind Energy at SC09 Conference

As the technology world turns its attention to the many facets of supercomputing at the SC09 conference in Portland this week, Intelligent Light, developer of the industry-leading computational fluid dynamics (CFD) post-processing FieldView™ software, is helping engineers, designers, and researchers reap the benefits of today's high performance computing (HPC) resources every day in real world applications.

Advances in HPC are significantly expanding the size of data that can be collected, allowing a dramatic increase in the realism and complexity of simulations. But in order for scientists, researchers, and engineers to get the answers they need from these massive datasets, the applications running on these super systems have to keep pace.

"Big data is just getting bigger," says Steve Legensky, Intelligent Light general manager. "Leveraging that information, being able to efficiently extract meaningful results, requires tools and processes that can manage complexity and ensure productivity. We want all CFD users, whether in small companies or large corporate engineering environments, to be able to harness the power of their available computing resources, break through bottlenecks, and interrogate any size dataset with FieldView. Its intuitive, user-friendly interface, speed, and power have made FieldView the choice of thousands."Architected to exploit multi-core and multi-processor computers operating as a single system or in HPC clusters, FieldView's "3 for Free" scaling allows users on two to four cores to easily take advantage of its parallel features. When running in parallel, FieldView 12.2 processes runs at least twice as fast on four processor cores, and up to five times faster on eight processor cores. The Japanese space agency JAXA, which regularly deals with multi-billion-node unsteady CFD cases, relies on FieldView to ensure productive, effective post-processing. JAXA recently reported that one dataset, a 1.3 billion node case, was fully read into FieldView in less than two minutes on a Fujitsu M9000 system.

The synergy between Intelligent Light's research efforts and its FieldView product line is evidenced by the company's development of a scalable solution for aero-acoustics and terascale data for its Rotorcraft Computational Aero-Acoustics Post-processing System (RCAAPS) program, sponsored by a NASA Langley SBIR Phase II contract. Intelligent Light is close to commercializing the results of this multi-year project, which brings together distributed computing systems, CFD solvers, and post-processing techniques in a wholly new approach.

"Aero-acoustic simulations are critical in rotorcraft, fixed wing aircraft, and turbomachinery, and are also being used to solve design challenges in wind energy, automotive design, and even consumer products," Legensky says. "When acoustics and CFD are coupled, the data demands are enormous. The RCAAPS work has the potential to revolutionize the way investigators in these fields explore large, unsteady simulations and how they manage these large datasets. And, as we deploy what we've learned and developed into future FieldView releases, those same benefits will accrue to CFD users across all industries."

Legensky will discuss the implications of HPC for the wind energy industry at SC09 with a Masterworks presentation, "HPC and the Challenge of Achieving a Twenty-fold Increase in Wind Energy," on Tuesday, November 17 at 10:30 a.m. Despite tremendous strides in wind power generation over the past two decades, wind farms today are underperforming on predicted cost of energy by an average of 10%, and operating expenses remain high. In order to meet a federal goal of wind power providing 20% of U.S. electricity needs by 2030, performance problems must be solved. Analysis and system-level optimization of the machines, wind farm location and configuration, coupled with accurate meso-microscale weather modeling will need to be developed and validated. This unsteady, turbulent, multi-scale modeling will only be possible through the use of large-scale HPC resources.

Other SC09 activities in which Intelligent Light is involved include the Posters track, with a report on the innovative research being done on the use of Graphics Processing Units (GPU) for computational tasks. In addition, Intelligent Light's Applied Research Group has been working with Northrop Grumman on a joint solution for integrating very large and smaller scale data in a smooth workflow that can provide the information required to enhance the consistent and cost-effective delivery of power in wind and solar facilities. This work will be featured in the Northrop Grumman exhibit booth.

Intelligent Light also has a stake in SC09's Student Cluster Competition, which challenges high-school and college students to run a workload of real-world applications on clusters of their own design in real time. Dr. Earl P.N. Duque, manager of Intelligent Light's Applied Research Group, is coaching the Arizona State University Cluster Devils team. A former member of an advanced computational research methods group for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Dr. Duque will draw on his expertise in these advanced areas of engineering and computing to guide the team.

About SC09

SC09, sponsored by ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) and the IEEE Computer Society, offers a complete technical education program and exhibition to showcase the many ways high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis lead to advances in scientific discovery, research, education and commerce. This premier international conference includes a globally attended technical program, workshops, tutorials, an exhibit area, demonstrations and hands-on learning. The SC conference series is among Tradeshow Week magazine's Top 200 events. For more information on SC09, please visit

About Intelligent Light

Intelligent Light, located in Rutherford, New Jersey, was founded in 1984 with a mission to provide the scientific and engineering community with the best possible tools for understanding data and communicating results. The company provides CFD post-processing and large data visualization capability, under the industry-leading FieldView™ brand and through its Applied Research Group, to thousands of HPC users in the aerospace, automotive and general manufacturing industries. Intelligent Light's unique development team is composed of CFD leaders, computer scientists, and visualization experts focused on listening to clients and delivering products that meet their needs. Visit for more information.

FieldView and FieldView FVX are trademarks of Intelligent Light.

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