MAE Seminar: “Towards Greener Aviation with Python at Petascale”

Thursday, February 22, 2018
2:00 – 3:00 pm
SEH, B1220

Speaker: Dr. Freddie Witherden, Stanford University



Accurate simulation of unsteady turbulent flow is critical for the improved design of greener aircraft that are quieter and more fuel-efficient. In this presentation, we will show how recent advances in high-order numerical methods and high-performance computing are enabling scale resolving simulations of hitherto intractable flows within the vicinity of complex engineering geometries. Our vehicle for this will be PyFR: an open source Python-based framework for solving the compressible Navier-Stokes equations using the high-order flux reconstruction approach. Unlike traditional high-performance computing codes, PyFR is written almost entirely in Python and is one of the first extreme-scale codes to make extensive use of run-time code generation. This enables PyFR to achieve unrivaled performance across a range of modern hardware platforms. Results will be presented for various benchmark and real-world flow problems. Comparisons with existing results in the literature will be made. Additionally, we will also showcase the scalability of PyFR, including its ability to sustain in excess of 13 PFLOP/s of computation on the Titan supercomputer. Further, we will also outline recent developments we have made in the fields of in-situ visualization and post-processing. Current challenges and future directions within computational fluid dynamics, and computational mechanics, in general, will also be discussed.



Freddie Witherden studied Physics with Theoretical Physics at Imperial College London between 2008-2012, earning an M.S. degree with first class honors.  In September 2012 Freddie started a Ph.D. in computational fluid dynamics in the Department of Aeronautics at Imperial College London under the supervision of Dr. Peter Vincent and graduated in December 2015.  Early in 2016, Freddie started a postdoctoral appointment in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University under the supervision of Dr. Antony Jameson.  Freddie's main research interests are in the development of novel approaches to the simulation of hitherto intractable flow problems at extreme scale.