High resolution aerospace applications using the NASA Columbia supercomputer

Dimitri J. Mavriplis, Michael J. Aftosmis, Marsha Berger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper focuses on the parallel performance of two high-performance aerodynamic simulation packages on the newly installed NASA Columbia supercomputer. These packages include both a high-fidelity, unstructured, Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes solver, and a fully-automated inviscid flow package for cut-cell Cartesian grids. The complementary combination of these two simulation codes enables high-fidelity characterization of aerospace vehicle design performance over the entire flight envelope through extensive parametric analysis and detailed simulation of critical regions of the flight envelope. Both packages are industrial-level codes designed for complex geometry and incorporate customized multigrid solution algorithms. The performance of these codes on Columbia is examined using both MPI and OpenMP and using both the NUMAlink and InfiniBand interconnect fabrics. Numerical results demonstrate good scalability on up to 2016 CPUs using the NUMAlink4 interconnect, with measured computational rates in the vicinity of 3 TFLOP/s, while InfiniBand showed some performance degradation at high CPU counts, particularly with multigrid. Nonetheless, the results are encouraging enough to indicate that larger test cases using combined MPI/ OpenMP communication should scale well on even more processors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-126
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of High Performance Computing Applications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Hybrid programming
  • NASA Columbia
  • OpenMP
  • SGI Altix
  • Scalability
  • Unstructured

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture


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