Platform: Underpinning Technologies for Finite Element Simulation

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Aeronautics

Abstract

Our team specialises in the development of finite element methods to computationally simulate fluid flow, particularly low Mach number, transient, separated fluid flows in complex geometries and in the presence of strong multiphysics coupling. These models can be used to make predictions and answer scientific questions in problems ranging from blood flow through an arterial bypass graft to the flow over components of a Formula 1 racing car to explaining how the ocean circulates or predicting the response of the Earth's climate to increased CO2 in the atmosphere. What unifies these flows is that they have common features, such as vortices, that occur across a huge range of sizes and times; these features have a critical effect on the phenomena being studied.

The range of these problem means that to address grand challenges such as the flow of blood in the numerous arteries of the human body, over a full Formula 1 car or the interaction of a massive array of tidal turbines, it is necessary to combine state-of-the-art modelling techniques with the capability to run models on massively parallel supercomputers.

In recognition of the recent changes in computer hardware, this platform will enable the group to promote the next generation of developers to provide general purpose software that takes advantage of cutting edge computer science to enable effective use of parallel computers using emerging hardware in a way that is accessible to fluid modelling experts as well as computer scientists. Hence this platform brings together a team of computer scientists and computational engineers in a fundamentally multidisciplinary project, with the dual aim of providing flexible, internationally respected and widely adopted software libraries, and of training young researchers in this emerging area.

Planned Impact

This proposal has potential for high-impact with a direct route to applications both in science and in industry. This proposal directly targets the barriers to impact that prevent sophisticated computational modelling techniques from finding widespread application in industry and science. Software tools developed in the platform will support systematic, flexible mapping from the science and engineering "business requirements" of a computational modelling project right down to the gates and wires of a computational simulation.

Academic and industrial users of computational fluid dynamics software will benefit from this research since the outputs of the platform will give them access to robust performance-portable implementations of advanced methods. This includes our own industrial collaborators from Fujitsu, BAE Systems, Airbus, McLaren Racing, Rolls Royce, Arup Consulting, Atlantis Resources, SERCO, EDF, British Energy, AMEC, NDA, Shell, BP, Thales, Babcock & Wilcox, and HSE/NII. The next challenge for computational fluid dynamics is to become part of the digital economy as a replacement for physical prototyping for many of these industries, offering the prospect of massively-reduced design costs, as well as time to market since it enables companies to bid for contracts based on full knowledge of costs and performance potential. These savings and improvements in technology can be passed on to the public. We also collaborate with public sector research centres such as the National Oceanographic Centre in Southampton and Liverpool, and the British Antarctic Survey, for whom the improved modelling capability will enable them to better inform government policy on energy and the environment. The public would also benefit from any improvements in weather forecasting through links with the UK Met Office Parallel Dynamical Core project.

We will ensure the impact is maximised by holding a stakeholder input workshop at the start of the project, by engaging with our industrial partners on the steering board, and by placing our researchers on short internships aimed at disseminating our ideas and software and collecting industrial user needs.

Publications


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Abolghasemi M (2016) Simulating tidal turbines with multi-scale mesh optimisation techniques in Journal of Fluids and Structures
Cantwell C (2015) Nektar++: An open-source spectral/ in Computer Physics Communications
Cotter C (2015) Mixed finite elements for global tide models in Numerische Mathematik
Farrell P (2014) A Framework for the Automation of Generalized Stability Theory in SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing
Homolya M (2016) A Parallel Edge Orientation Algorithm for Quadrilateral Meshes in SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing
 
Description We have a number of open ware packages which are being continually extended and enhanced.

These include four finite element packages, Nektar++, PyFR, Fluidity and Firedrake the details of which can be found under our web page www.prism.ac.uk

Fluidity and Nektar++ are being used by industry. Collaborations directly related to extending PyFR into an independent software vendor are being supported through and Innovate UK grant. We also have a new high order meshing capability which will be released under open software very soon.
Exploitation Route We continue to extend these methods and the open access of the software means a number of national and international groups are now engaging with our tools.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Environment,Healthcare
URL http://www.prism.ac.uk
 
Description The underpinning finite element technology has lead to a start-up company involving four of the investigators and an external person from Industry.
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Transport
Impact Types Economic
 
Description Council of Science and Technology Review on Modelling
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
 
Description EPSRC Software for the Future II call
Amount £435,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/M011054/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 01/2015 
End 12/2017
 
Description EPSRC: LIbHPC II
Amount £726,567 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K038788/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 07/2013 
End 06/2015
 
Description ExaFlow
Amount £254,824 (GBP)
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 11/2015 
End 10/2018
 
Description McLaren Group PhD funding
Amount £174,400 (GBP)
Organisation McLaren Group 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 12/2007 
End 11/2011
 
Description Standard Grant: Moving meshes for global atmospheric modelling
Amount £128,254 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/M013634/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 09/2015 
End 08/2018
 
Description Collaboration with Simula Research Laboratory, Oslo, Norway 
Organisation Simula Research Laboratory
Country Norway, Kingdom of 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Dr Simon Funke was jointly funded by project EP/L000407/1 and Simular Research Laboratory. This was in order to foster collaboration in code generation techniques for the numerical solution of PDEs, and in the application area of marine renewable energy.
Collaborator Contribution Support on the use of code generation techniques and optimisation algorithms for the optimisation of tidal turbine arrays.
Impact The further development of the OpenTidalFarm software: http://opentidalfarm.readthedocs.org/en/latest/
Start Year 2013
 
Description McLaren Racing 
Organisation McLaren Racing
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We have transferred fundamental ideas behind vortex stability and identification to their design practice. More recently we are been applying computational modelling tools developed in an academic setting to example flow problems of direct interest to McLaren.
Collaborator Contribution Data and motivation on how to focus our research direction
Impact .
Start Year 2007
 
Title Firedrake 
Description Firedrake is an automated system for the portable solution of partial differential equations using the finite element method (FEM). Firedrake enables users to employ a wide range of discretisations to an infinite variety of PDEs and employ either conventional CPUs or GPUs to obtain the solution. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2013 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Firedrake is a principle test platform for the development of Gung Ho, the future UK Met Office dynamical core. 
URL http://www.firedrakeproject.org/
 
Title Nektar++ Version 4.1.0 
Description Nektar++ is a tensor product based finite element package designed to allow one to construct efficient classical low polynomial order h-type solvers (where h is the size of the finite element) as well as higher p-order piecewise polynomial order solvers. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2015 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact This package underpins our research efforts in a range of applications involving car aerodynamics, offshore engineering, laminar flow control, cardiovascular flow, and atrial arrthymia. 
URL http://www.nektar.info/downloads/file/nektar-source-tar-gz/
 
Title Nektar++ Version 4.2.0 
Description Nektar++ is a tensor product based finite element package designed to allow one to construct efficient classical low polynomial order h-type solvers (where h is the size of the finite element) as well as higher p-order piecewise polynomial order solvers. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2015 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact The Nektar++ framework has been an underpinning framework for a range of solver technologies which at Imperial includes: 1) Incompressible flow simulation and stability analysis related to car aerodynamics with McLaren Racing and offshore engineering 2) Biomedical modelling in atrial arrthymia in collaboration Hammersmith Hospital and Cardiovascular modelling in collaboration with Bioengineering 3) Compressible flow modelling with collaboration with Airbus and more recent interest form Rolls Royce. The wider community of Nektar++ usage can be captured in the following: - It has an active user list currently with 76 registered from Europe, USA, South America, Australia and China - It has an active code development community: Over the past 3.5 years we have had over 4500 commits and had 500 merge requests completed in our Gitlab repository. - Over the past five months, the most recent version of the code (v4.2.0) has been downloaded 2473 times with increasing usage of Debian and Fedora packages. - Our overview paper (doi:10.1016/j.cpc.2015.02.008) was published in Computer Physics Communications in July 2015 and has been either 1st or 2nd on the most downloaded list since this time. - Our inaugural Nektar++ workshop in 2015 had 30 participants from the UK, Europe and Australia. (http://www.nektar.info/community/workshops/nektar-2015/) - The package is supported on a number of HPC facilities e.g. ARCHER, Argonne/ORNL, INRIA, Imperial HPC cluster (Cx1,Helen) External to imperial our closest development activities are currently with the Universities of Utah and Brown in USA, University of Madrid (Spain), University of Darmstadt (Germany) and the University of Sao Paolo (Brazil). We have also had recent interest from UK users at Cambridge, Nottingham and Loughborogh Universities as well as notable users acvitity from Warsaw University, Harbin Institute of Technology in China, Beihang University, Middle East Technical University, Monash University and the University of Western Australia. 
URL http://www.nektar.info/downloads/file/nektar-4-2-0-tar-gz/
 
Title Nektar++ version 4.0.1 
Description Nektar++ is a tensor product based finite element package designed to allow one to construct efficient classical low polynomial order h-type solvers (where h is the size of the finite element) as well as higher p-order piecewise polynomial order solvers. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact The software is being used by a number of national and international groups and our web site is currently being visited up to 100 times a day according to google analytics 
URL http://www.nektar.info/downloads/file/nektar-source-tar-gz-2/
 
Title PyFR v0.1.0 
Description PyFR is an open-source Python based framework for solving advection-diffusion type problems on streaming architectures using the Flux Reconstruction approach of Huynh. The framework is designed to solve a range of governing systems on mixed unstructured grids containing various element types. It is also designed to target a range of hardware platforms via use of an in-built domain specific language derived from the Mako templating engine. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2013 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact DOI: 10.1016/j.cpc.2014.07.011 
URL http://www.pyfr.org
 
Title PyFR v0.2.0 
Description PyFR is an open-source Python based framework for solving advection-diffusion type problems on streaming architectures using the Flux Reconstruction approach of Huynh. The framework is designed to solve a range of governing systems on mixed unstructured grids containing various element types. It is also designed to target a range of hardware platforms via use of an in-built domain specific language derived from the Mako templating engine. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact
URL http://www.pyfr.org
 
Title PyFR v0.2.1 
Description PyFR is an open-source Python based framework for solving advection-diffusion type problems on streaming architectures using the Flux Reconstruction approach of Huynh. The framework is designed to solve a range of governing systems on mixed unstructured grids containing various element types. It is also designed to target a range of hardware platforms via use of an in-built domain specific language derived from the Mako templating engine. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact
URL http://www.pyfr.org
 
Title PyFR v0.2.2 
Description PyFR is an open-source Python based framework for solving advection-diffusion type problems on streaming architectures using the Flux Reconstruction approach of Huynh. The framework is designed to solve a range of governing systems on mixed unstructured grids containing various element types. It is also designed to target a range of hardware platforms via use of an in-built domain specific language derived from the Mako templating engine. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact
URL http://www.pyfr.org
 
Title PyFR v0.2.3 
Description PyFR is an open-source Python based framework for solving advection-diffusion type problems on streaming architectures using the Flux Reconstruction approach of Huynh. The framework is designed to solve a range of governing systems on mixed unstructured grids containing various element types. It is also designed to target a range of hardware platforms via use of an in-built domain specific language derived from the Mako templating engine. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact
URL http://www.pyfr.org
 
Company Name London Computational Solutions 
Description Bespoke software development 
Year Established 2015 
Impact .
Website http://www.londoncomputationalsolutions.com
 
Description Maths Foresees workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop resulted in collaborative projects between academics and stakeholders, funded through the Maths Foresees network, and forged new potential collaborations for future project calls.

Amongst the various activities, I started a new engagement with HR Wallingford on a flooding project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www1.maths.leeds.ac.uk/mathsforesees/workshopleeds2015.html
 
Description Princes Teaching Trust 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I had fruitful discussions with teachers at the event who got ideas of how to engage students with numerical analysis topics by discussing our work.

I received very complementary written feedback from teachers via the Prince's Teaching Trust after the event, who said that they would use examples from my talk in their teaching to inspire KS4/5 students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015