Intelligent Light and FieldView

Wind Leaders Addressing Future Data Needs - Atmosphere to Electrons Initiative

I had the honor and pleasure to participate in the Atmosphere to Electrons Workshop hosted by the Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.  The focus of the initiative is on the use of computational simulation to improve understanding and performance predictions from the microscale to the mesoscale.


FieldView image published in paper: "Turbulence Transport Phenomena in the Wakes of Wind Turbines", Earl Duque, Intelligent Light; Pankaj Jha and Jessica Bashioum and Sven Schmitz, The Pennsylvania State University

The event brought together leaders from the wind energy community including National Labs, Universities and Industry. The purpose was to map out the direction for simulating the performance of a wind turbine farm; capturing the temporal and spatial scales from meso-scale (kilometer and hours) down to the airfoil boundary layer scales (micron and milliseconds). Morning and afternoon sessions began with a topical plenary talk followed by working groups focused on the computation and modeling needs at different scales such as Park Scale, Turbine Scale and Airfoil Scale.

 Wind Farm - FieldView image as published in "Wind Farm Simulations Using a Full Rotor Model for Wind Turbines", J. Sitaraman, D. Mavriplis, E. Duque
AIAA Paper 2014-1086

For me, it was clear that it will be essential to include in-situ data analysis methods and file I/O standards in order to work with the tremendous volumes of data that will be created and processed. This was recognized by many at the meeting.  The use of in-situ methods with FieldView and VisIt offers solutions to those grappling with the current data analysis bottlenecks. 

With the high-caliber people from government, academia, and industry converging on this challenging problem, the A2E initiative is making progress toward vast improvements in the understanding of the complex physics of wind flowing into and through wind farms.  DOE sees the potential to improve wind farm efficiency by 20% while drastically reducing operating costs for wind energy producers.

Related Research Papers:

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Wind Power Engineering feature: Simulating the Turbine, Simulating the Site

CFD for Wind Turbintes - Wind Power Engineering FieldView software from Intelligent Light. Isosurfaces highlight vortex wake structures generated by the wind turbine's rotor blades, the tower and nacelle, and how they interact with one another.

In a cover and feature article, Earl P.N. Duque, manager of Applied Research discusses the challenges and state of the art technologies that are in use today to increase performance and decrease the cost of energy for wind energy.

"Designing the most efficient and effective wind turbine calls for modeling tools that provide accurate, reliable numerical predictions of wind-turbine rotor performance over a machine’s full range of operating conditions. Simulating real-world conditions using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) lets users understand flow phenomena and their effects on the system, better predict the system’s power output, and analyze the types of vibration, fatigue, and other wear-and-tear the wind turbine may experience for the conditions modeled."

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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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