NASA has awarded 4.75 million hours of supercomputing time for the coming year to leading U.S. researchers. This computing time is intended to help scientists solve some of the most challenging research problems involving turbulent fluid flow, naval ship design, combustion for power generation, and ocean convection.

NASA awarded the time under its National Leadership Computing System (NLCS) initiative, chartered to provide resources to computationally intensive research projects of national interest. Researchers will use NASA’s Columbia system, one of the world’s largest and most productive supercomputers, located at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

“These significant allocations of time on Columbia will help top scientists make high-impact advances in several important fields, leading to improved aerospace vehicles and naval ships, a cleaner environment, and more accurate predictions of future climate change,” said NAS Deputy Division Chief Bryan Biegel. The NAS facility delivers high-performance computing capability to nearly 1,000 users at NASA and other government agencies, industry and universities supporting NASA missions.

Four major research projects are receiving a one-year allocation of NLCS supercomputer time:

– Transition in High-Speed Boundary Layers: Numerical Investigations Using DNS and LES: Led by Hermann Fasel, University of Arizona, Tucson. This project will receive 1.5 million processor hours to conduct high-fidelity simulations on Columbia to understand how turbulence starts in high-speed airflow over air vehicles. This research seeks ideas and strategies to delay transition to turbulent flow, enabling aerospace engineers to improve performance of future supersonic and hypersonic air vehicles.

– Large Scale URANS/DES Ship Hydrodynamics Computations with CFDShip-Iowa: Led by Fredrick Stern, University of Iowa, Iowa City. This project will receive 500,000 hours to accelerate code development for viscous ship hydrodynamics simulation, using models that include resistance, sea keeping, propulsion and maneuvering. Developers will conduct some of the largest viscous ship hydrodynamics computations ever performed, with the goal of accelerating the realization of simulation-based design of naval ships.

– Flame Dynamics and Emission Chemistry in High-Pressure Industrial Burners: Led by Marcus Day, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif. This project will receive 1.5 million hours for scientists to simulate natural gas combustion in power-generation turbines to quantify the mechanisms that control the formation of pollutants. The resulting knowledge could reduce the pollution produced by power generation.

– Multi-Scale Modeling and Computation of Convective Geophysical Turbulence: Led by Keith Julien, University of Colorado, Boulder. This project will receive 1.25 million hours. Scientists will use new algorithms in large-scale simulations to study the role of global ocean thermohaline circulation (THC) in modulating the world’s climate. Understanding and modeling the components of THC would help to predict future climate change.

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