Cart3D, an aerodynamic simulation tool developed jointly by
Michael Aftosmis and Dr. John Melton of NASA Ames Research Center, in
California’s Silicon Valley. and Professor Marsha Berger of the
Courant Institute, New York University, was named today as the
Software of the Year 2002 by NASA’s Inventions and Contributions

The Cart3D software package provides designers and engineers with an
automated, highly accurate computer simulation suite that streamlines
the conceptual and preliminary analysis of both new and existing
aerospace vehicles.   

"Cart3D’s novel algorithms and its state-of-the-art
computational efficiency combine to provide designers with a new
level of automation that reduces simulation time requirements by a
factor of at least 250," said Aftosmis, one of the
co-developers. "This level of automation encourages designers to
test more vehicle variations over a wider range of flight conditions
than previously possible."

Cart3D is the result of over 10 years of dedicated research and
software development, culminating in a revolutionary approach to
computational fluid dynamics – the computer simulation of how fluids
and gases flow around an object of a particular design. Cart3D’s
fusion of cutting-edge technological advancements in fields as
diverse as mineralogy, computer graphics, computational geometry and
fluid dynamics provides engineers with a new industrial geometry
processing and fluids analysis capability unique in its level of
automation and efficiency.

"The Cart3D team is absolutely thrilled to receive this award,
which recognizes the utility and impact that Cart3D is having
throughout the engineering simulation community worldwide," said

"This is a great example of the success of an interdisciplinary
team with members from both a government research lab and a
university, where each member brought different perspectives and
strengths to the problem," added Berger.

Cart3D contributes to each of the NASA Aerospace Technology
Enterprise goals, and is an outstanding example of the importance of
NASA-developed software to both the military and economic security of
the nation. NASA utilizes the software to ensure the safety of future
space operations. Users of Cart3D include NASA Johnson Space Center,
Houston, in simulations of various crew escape configurations for
NASA’s Space Launch Initiative program.

Before the advent of this software, the basic computational tool —
the grid layout used in analyzing designs of airplanes and spacecraft
— had to be hand-generated and required months or even years to
produce for complex models. Cart3D automates grid generation to a
remarkable degree, enabling even the most complex geometries to be
modeled 100 times faster than before.

Simulations generated by Cart3D help identify and fix problems in
military transport aircraft and helicopters. Cart3D allow simulation
of complex geometries in fields other than 3space, ranging from
astrophysics to computer science to electromagnetics.

The software also is being used at a number of leading universities,
including Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, New York University, John Hopkins University, the Georgia
Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley.
An expanding list of over 100 commercial users includes the Boeing
Company, Cessna Aircraft, General Dynamics Electric Boat, Orbital
Sciences Corp., Northrop Grumman, Silicon Graphics and Raytheon.
Example projects at these companies include the analysis of
front-line military vehicles and the conceptual design of new
business jets. 

"Cart3D’s novel approach to geometry processing and spatial
discretization has had a worldwide impact on high-fidelity scientific
and engineering simulation in fields outside of aerospace, ranging
from astrophysics to computer science to electromagnetics," said

Ames’ Commercial Technology Office has licensed the software for
commercialization by ICEM CFD Engineering, a subsidiary of ANSYS,
Inc. Canonsburg, Penn. ANSYS provides
sophisticated engineering analyses tools to 84 of Fortune’s top 100
industrial companies. These licenses will extend Cart3D beyond
traditional aerospace uses and into other industries including
automotive, electronics, turbomachinery and industrial process

Ames’ co-winner in the 2002 Software of the Year Award is NASA
Johnson Space Center, for its DSMC Analysis Code software package
that models the flow of low-density gases over flight surfaces.

More information about the winners may be found at: