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

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.


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!

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edge CFD can be beautiful as well as instructive. Each
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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.

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