Intelligent Light and FieldView

Now Available! Formula 1 & FieldView – Winning CFD Workflows

Hear it for yourself!  

On Demand Webinar now available!

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 with our On Demand Webinar!


Next Generation Transport Aircraft Workshop 2016

NGTransportAircraftWorkshop16 次世代航空機ワークショップ

I was grateful to be invited to participate and represent Intelligent Light at the Next Generation Transport Aircraft Workshop held in February, 2016 in Hawaii. The conference brought together leaders from industry and universities in Japan and the United States who are working to develop transport aircraft of the future.

Major tracks of presentation and discussion were:

  • CFD methodologies and applications
  • High order numerical methods in CFD
  • Uncertainty Quantification (UQ) and optimization
  • Data assimilation
  • Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) Laminates
  • Failure modes for composite structures
  • 3D printing of continuous carbon fiber reinforced plastics

I found Dr. John C. Halpin’s (JCH Consultants, Inc.) keynote presentation “The Aging Composite Airframe” to be a fascinating discussion and a great start to the meetings. Dr. Halpin asks the question: How long should a composite airframe last? While non-composite aircraft have an estimated service life of 35-40 years, carbon fiber plastics service life is estimated at around 20 years. Experience shows delamination based on power load and Mode 1 simulations are commonly run while Modes 2 and 3 are infrequently run due to the computation cost of these simulations. Accurate simulations are needed to develop appropriate safety standards for these aircraft.

Intriguing too was the use of SPH for bird strike simulations described in Shigeki Yashiro’s (Shizuoka Univ. Japan) presentation "Numerical analysis of bird strike on CFRP laminates using smoothed particle hydrodynamics in a generalized coordinate system". SPH handles the deformation well but is not suitable for representing microscopic damage as the particles are uniformly distributed. Dr. Yashiro modified his code to handle arbitrarily defined spacing of particles to produce credible results for this microscopic damage.

It is clear that some very interesting work is being done in the universities to develop methods and tools to address the challenges of working with composite materials. Further, the range of configurations and operating conditions will require probabilistic evaluation and uncertainty quantification (UQ) to develop safety standards and design targets for heavy lift aircraft. While the researchers are developing methods, industry is developing repeatable and reliable production workflows with mature tools and technology. Industry leaders are eager to speed development and increase accuracy using new methods and workflows that are proven and reduce program risks.

I wish to express my gratitude to the organizers for their kind invitation. I was pleased to contribute to and learn from the discussions with my colleagues.


2016年2月にハワイで開催された次世代航空機ワークショップにIntelligent Light(弊社)の代表として参加させて頂きました。このワークショップでは日米の次世代航空機の研究開発を行っている企業及び大学が集まり、研究発表や意見交換が行われました。


  • CFD手法及び適用
  • 高次精度CFD
  • 不確かさの定量的評価、最適化
  • データ同化
  • CFRP
  • 複合材料の破壊モード解析
  • 複合材料の3次元プリント

その中でもDr. John C. Halpinによるキーノート発表「The Aging Composite Airframe」はとても興味深い発表でした。発表の中で、Halpin博士は複合材料で航空機を設計する際に、そもそも複合材料で作る航空機フレームは何年持つべきなのかと問いかけていました。現在の金属製の航空機は約35年から40年の寿命を設定して作られている一方、現行の複合材料の寿命は約20年 と言われているそうです。現在複合材料の剥離解析は第1モードのみで行われており、計算コストの高い第2第3モードは考慮されていない事が多いそうです。 より正確な多モード解析を行うことによって、より正確な材料の劣化予測が出来るようになり、安全な材料の開発につながるそうです。

また静岡大学の矢代先生らによるSmoothed Particle Hydrodynamics(SPH)法を用いたバードストライクによる剥離解析研究も興味深いものでした。SPH法 はシミュレーションに格子を用いない粒子法のシミュレーション手法の一つです。格子を使用しないので、層剥離や変形を容易に取り扱う事が出来るという利点 がありますが、粒子を均等に配置する必要があるので粒子サイズ以下の小さいサイズのダメージを取り扱うのが難しいという問題があるそうです。そこで、粒子 間隔を任意に設定出来るようにする事により粒子サイズ以下のダメージを表せる新しいアルゴリズムを開発されたそうです。

本ワークショップにて次世代航空機の開発に 向けた様々な研究を学ぶことができました。上記の研究以外にも安全基準の策定のための不確定性の定量評価等も盛んに行われている様です。大学では革新的な 手法の開発、一方企業での研究では開発スピードの向上と同時にリスク低減に向けたより精度の高いワークフローの開発に重点が置かれ、より実用的な研究が行われていると感じました。



Rotor Heads Unite! - AIAA Hover Prediction Workshop

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

UPDATE Jan. 2017: The Hover Prediction Workshop continues and new work was presented at AIAA SciTech in January, 2017.  

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.

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.

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.


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.