Intelligent Light and FieldView

Parallel CFD Conference - Extract-based Workflows Enable & Accelerate Large Scale Production CFD

28th International Conference on Parallel Computational Fluid Dynamics, May 9-13, 2016, Kobe, Japan  

Extract-based Workflows to Enable and Accelerate Large Scale Production CFD 
Steve M. Legensky, Founder and General Manager, Intelligent Light

As scalable computing use accelerates, the rate at which data is being generated by CFD simulations exceeds the speed at which it can be written to disk, transferred, post-processed and analyzed. It has become difficult for engineers and researchers to gain understanding via visualization, exploration and collaboration. As a result, design alternatives are not tried, research questions are not asked and simulation complexity is reduced.  The true value of HPC enabled CFD is not realized.

Extracts created in situ present a solution to this otherwise intractable problem by vastly reducing the amount of data that is written, transferred and used for visualization and analysis. In sity methods have been maturing over the years with two open source tools, VisIt/libsim and ParaView/Catalyst becoming ad hoc standards for production-level in situ CFD. However, using these methods at peta-flop and exa-flop scales present the same challenges that most codes face in moving to these extreme scales.

Intelligent Light has been involved in developing and extending VisIt/libsim for in situ and extract-based post-processing and creating a more standardized, high performance infrastructure for in situ integration into solver codes. In this presentation Steve Legensky will provide an overview of the current scaling research utilizing the Georgia Tech AVF-LESLIE reactive flow multiphysics code on large scale systems at DOE's NERSC and the TITAN system at the Oak Ridge Leadership Class Compute facility. On TITAN, over 130,000 cores were used for the solver and integrated in situ processing. 

In addition, benchmark results for production engineering examples in aerospace will be presented.

Speaker Biography
Steve M. Legensky is the founder and general manager of Intelligent Light, a company that has delivered products and services based on visualization technology since 1984. He attended Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey and received a BE degree in electrical engineering in 1977 and a MS degree in mathematics in 1979. Steve's passion is applying computer graphics and data management to difficult engineering problems. Steve is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and has published and presented for AIAA, IEEE, ACM/SIGGRAPH and IDC.

Seminar: Kobe, Japan - "Speed Up Production CFD Workflows with Extract-Based Post-Processing"

Intelligent Light will hold a seminar in Kobe, Japan, on May 13, 2016, following the ParCFD Conference.

The seminar, "Speed Up Production CFD Workflows with Extract-Based Post-Processing" is designed to help those using standardized plots/reports, unsteady CFD, remote HPC computing or large data to achieve greater throughput. During the seminar, Intelligent Light will introduce our new HPC FieldView software that combines the power of open-source VisIt software with the ease-of-use and productivity of FieldView.

This seminar will be held from 9:30 to 12:30 at the FOCUS facility conveniently located near the ParCFD 2016 event and the K-computer and is accessible by public transport on the same line as the Kobe International Airport and the Kobe International Conference Center.

Parallel computing has enabled CFD practitioners to create far more data than can be stored or accessed for post-processing and analysis, making it difficult for engineers and researchers to gain understanding via visualization, exploration and collaboration.

Mr. Steve M. Legensky, Founder and General Manager of Intelligent Light, will present techniques and customer examples that show how extract-based methods have graduated from the research realm to the production environment. Steve will showcase our recent success applying file based and in situ techniques to production level workflows that scale from hundreds of cores to over 130,000 cores.

If you are interested in participating, want more information about the seminar or HPC FieldView, simply send an email to  We will be happy to provide details and answer your questions.

There is no charge for participation, but be sure to reply soon as space is limited.

We look forward to seeing you in Kobe.


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.