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AHPCRC Bulletin: Summer 1994 - Volume 4 Number 4

Supercomputing '94

At Supercomputing '94, the AHPCRC demonstrated the use of high performance computing to address issues of critical importance to defense science and technology. The demonstrations included the use of scalable high performance computing systems, the heterogeneous computing model, advanced computational libraries, and very high-speed networking to solve complex, three-dimensional real-world problems in computational fluid dynamics, structural mechanics, and interactive battlefield simulation. Supercomputing '94 was held the week of November 14-19 at the Washington D.C. Convention Center.

Figure 1. Cover page of the Summer 1994 issue of IEEE Computational Science & Engineering: AHPCRC-Natick RDEC simulation of parafoils.
The featured demonstration in the AHPCRC booth was the simulation of the deployment and gliding of a large parafoil. The development of the computational fluid dynamics and finite element techniques to model complex shapes with moving boundaries, such as those seen in parafoils, has been one of the primary activities of the AHPCRC. As part of this work, the AHPCRC and the Natick Research, Development, and Engineering Center (RDEC) are jointly developing the technology to computationally model large gliding para-foils. These parafoils are similar to their smaller cousins, long used in the sporting com-munity. The Army would like to use parafoils of this nature to deliver large payloads, over 20 tons, for soft, precision landings. The use of computational modeling and simulation is ex-pected to considerably reduce the requirement for the construction of prototype parafoils and for field drop tests or wind tunnel tests and is expected to result in substantial reduction in development time and testing.

Figure 2. March picture of the official 1995 calendar of the Conference: AHPCRC-Natick RDEC simulation of parafoils.
The AHPCRC-Natick computational simulation of a parafoil in steady-state was featured in an Aviation Week and Space Technology article (Vol. 141, No. 22) on the use of high performance computing. It was also honored by being featured on the cover of the Summer 1994 issue of IEEE Computational Science & Engineering (see Figure 1), and was one of the two AHPCRC collaborative research activities to receive prominent exposure in the official Conference calendar for 1995 (see Figure 2). The other, the parallel finite element computation of missile aerodynamics (see Figure 3), came from a joint project with the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) to evaluate Navier-Stokes techniques for the prediction of the separated flow fields about missile configurations at large angles of attack.

Figure 3. October picture of the official 1995 calendar of the Conference: AHPCRC-ARL simulations of missile aerodynamics.
The simulation of the fluid flow inside a regenerative liquid propellent gun, a project conducted in collaboration with the ARL, was demonstrated using the heterogeneous computing model. In this application, an implicit finite element code, running on the AHPCRC CM-5, was coupled with a direct solver running on the Minnesota Supercomputer Center (MSCI) Cray C90. The two systems communicated over a high-speed HIPPI channel using the HIPPI Remote Procedure Call Library developed by the AHPCRC.

An ARL-led project illustrated the use of scalable high performance computing and high speed networking to create an interactive battlefield testbed. The testbed allowed a user to define geotypical terrain at high resolution. A terrain database was generated on the CM-5 at the AHPCRC and broadcast via an Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) DS-3 line, provided by US Sprint, from Minneapolis to the Washington, D.C. Convention Center. The terrain database was then used in an interactive battlefield simulation. The terrain data was rendered by the ARL Stealth program and displayed on workstations in the AHPCRC and DoD High Performance Computing Modernization Program booths.

TerraVision, a "real" terrain visualization system and an application being used to evaluate the capability of the MAGIC Gigabit Testbed was also shown. TerraVision is a sy-stem for visualizing in real-time, a synthetic re-creation of a real landscape created from ele-vation data and a large number of aerial images of that landscape. TerraVision's goal is to allow a user to travel above or across a terrain at will. TerraVision is designed to provide the observer, in real-time, a view which can change from a panoramic perspective to the close-up details of the terrain. The TerraVision application demonstrated at Supercomputing '94 util-ized a terrain dataset of the Army National Training Center at Fort Irwin, CA. The terrain data was available to the user either from local Image Server Systems (ISS) at 100 and 140 megabit/second ATM, or from remote ISSs over US Sprint's DS-3 ATM network into the MAGIC backbone network.

Participants in the MAGIC Gigabit Testbed Project include organizations from government, industry, and academia, such as the Earth Resources Observation System Data Center; US Geological Survey; Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory; US Department of Energy; MSCI; SRI; University of Kansas; MITRE Corporation; AHPCRC; Battle Command Battle Laboratory; US Army Combined Arms Command; Digital Equipment Corporation; Northern Telecom, Inc./Bell Northern Research; Southwestern Bell Telephone; Splitrock Tele-com; US Sprint; and US West Communictions, Inc.


Figure 4. AHPCRC team at Supercomputing '94.
Carissa Baker (Howard University) displayed results from her research project, from the AHPCRC 1994 Undergraduate Summer Institute for "Analyzing DNA Sequences". Carissa and fellow 1994 Undergraduate Summer Institute graduate, Jabari Lee (Jackson State University) hosted visitors to the AHPCRC booth and provided information on their experiences and activities in high performance computing. Many AHPCRC researchers and staff who were present at the AHPCRC booth (see Figure 4) described and demonstrated to the visitors the AHPCRC research, infrastructure support, education, and outreach programs. Visitors to the AHPCRC booth included those from Army sites, ARO, and the academic partners of the AHPCRC (see Figure 5).

Figure 5. Dr. Kofi Bota, Vice President for Research, Clark Atlanta University, and Tayfun Tezduyar, Director, AHPCRC.
In keeping with the theme of the importance of high performance computing in solving critical defense problems, still images depicting results from other key Army and AHPCRC research projects were displayed and included: Detonation Interaction Modeling (Armament RDEC); Tidal Flow in Galveston Bay (Waterways Experiment Station); Nearly Incompressible Fluids With Moving Mechanical Components (ARL); Simulated Soil Sample (Waterways Experiment Station); Large, Real-Time Vehicle Simulation (Tank-Automotive RDEC); Missile Aerodynamics (ARL); and Coupled Incompressible Flows in Materials Processing.

Several projects from the AHPCRC 1993 and 1994 Undergraduate Summer Institutes were also featured in the form of still images. They included: Pressure and Turbulence Fields for Low Drag Concept Car; Electrical Potential in a Sheet of Heart Cells; Solutions of the Heat Equation for Selected Boundary Conditions; and Patterns of Phase Separation in an Alloy. A video tape of the research projects was also shown in the booth.