NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery for 50 Years

Berkeley Lab to Release AMR Software Package at SC2000

Powerful Tools for Tackling Difficult Problems in Computational Science

November 1, 2000

BERKELEY, Calif. -- The U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will release "Berkeley Lab AMR," a comprehensive library of adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) software and documentation at the SC2000 conference to be held Nov. 4-10 in Dallas.

With the use of AMR and powerful parallel computers, new horizons are opening in scientific research. Many everyday situations, such as running an internal combustion engine or predicting weather, actually involve very complex physical processes that scientists are only now beginning to understand. At Berkeley Lab, scientists and mathematicians are developing specialized tools and algorithms for computer modeling of problems like these.

The tools are general enough that most computational problems involving partial differential equations can potentially benefit from their use. Now, these tools, including visualization software, and extensive documentation supporting their application, have been produced as a CD for general distribution, beginning with the SC2000 conference. The CD containing an AMR overview, research highlights and software will be available at the Berkeley Lab booth, R302, in the Dallas Convention Center.

"The presence of both leading researchers in computational science, and of the high performance computing vendors makes the SC conference the ideal venue to release the Berkeley AMR software suite," said Horst Simon, director of Berkeley Lab's National Energy Research Scientific Computing (NERSC) Division. "Berkeley Lab AMR is unique among many AMR codes because of its adaptability to a wide range of applications. Scalable parallelism, and an object oriented approach have been built into the design from the very beginning, and assure the flexibility and high performance across multiple platforms."

In addition to distributing the CD, Berkeley Lab will also present two talks on AMR in its booth during SC2000. At 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, John Bell of NERSC's Center for Computational Sciences and Engineering will discuss "Numerical Simulation of Combustion with Complex Kinetics." At 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, Phil Colella of NERSC's Applied Numerical Algorithms Group will talk about "Adaptive mesh refinement research and software at NERSC."

AMR serves as a "numerical microscope," allowing researchers to "zoom in" on the specific regions of a problem that are most important to its solution. Rather than requiring that the whole calculation have the same spatial resolution, AMR allows different resolution in different regions of the problem. Areas of interest are covered with a finer mesh than the surrounding regions; for time-dependent problems, the finer meshes are also advanced with a smaller time step. Not having to perform the entire calculation at the finest resolution allows scientists to make the most of available computer resources, so that they can then solve bigger, harder problems.

AMR has been under development for more than 15 years. Scientists in the NERSC Division at Berkeley Lab have been at the forefront of developing the algorithms that exploit this capability to solve a variety of scientific problems. One of the most challenging problems in computational science to which AMR is being applied is numerical modeling of combustion. Calculations of combustion processes often include a well-defined flame front; focusing the computing power on the flame, where hundreds or thousands of chemical reactions may be taking place, results in large savings in computing time and memory. As the flame develops and moves through the domain, the finer meshes automatically move with it, allowing researchers to achieve unprecedented temporal and spatial resolution of the internal flame structure.



About NERSC and Berkeley Lab
The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility that serves as the primary high performance computing center for scientific research sponsored by the Office of Science. Located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, NERSC serves almost 10,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities researching a wide range of problems in climate, fusion energy, materials science, physics, chemistry, computational biology, and other disciplines. Berkeley Lab is a DOE national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy. »Learn more about computing sciences at Berkeley Lab.