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Researchers evidence the huge potential in using ARM-based HPC systems in the field of Computational Fluid Dynamics

2 August 2019

A GW4 grant allows Cardiff University researchers to run Hydro3D simulation code on the Isambard Cray supercomputer

Unai Lopez Novoa, Data Innovation Research Institute, and Pablo Ouro Barba, Cardiff School of Engineering, worked with collaborators to assess the performance of the GW4 Alliance’s new Isambard Cray supercomputer using an open-source Large-Eddy Simulation (LES) code.

Isambard Cray is composed of two sets of nodes: one small set based on widely used x86 Intel chips, and another much larger set that uses novel 64-bit ARM-based Cavium ThunderX2 processors. The latter is the first of a series of ARM-based computing chips for High Performance Computing (HPC) systems.

To assess the performance of Isambard Cray, the researchers used Hydro3D, a state-of-the-art code developed by a team from Cardiff University’s Hydro-environmental Research Centre. The code is capable of simulating complex turbulent flows in Hydraulic or Environmental Engineering, fluid-structure interaction problems in Aeronautical Engineering or design of renewable energy devices.

The first tests conducted were evidence of the huge potential in using ARM-based HPC systems in the field of Computational Fluid Dynamics, with Hydro3D performing better in the ARM-based processors. During the tests, the novel processor behaved correctly and without error, showing the readiness of the new ARM-based ecosystem to be used in a production environment.

Future work in this direction will focus on further profiling and tuning of Hydro3D in the ARM-based processors and assessing the performance and scalability in multi-node simulations.

Dr James Price and Professor Simon McIntosh Smith, University of Bristol were collaborators in this research.

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