NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery for 50 Years

Combustion Researcher Outlines Advances Due to SciDAC

April 1, 2004


Direct numerical study of flame-wall interactions and wall heat transfer. Instantaneous snapshots allow a detailed observation of flame-extinction events.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) program is making important contributions to combustion research, according to Arnaud Trouvé, a professor of engineering at the University of Maryland and a NERSC user.

Trouvé, who has extensive experience in the field of multi-dimensional numerical modeling for turbulent combustion applications, is a leader of SciDAC’s Terascale High-
Fidelity Simulations of Turbulent Combustion with Detailed Chemistry project. The project is a multi-institution collaborative effort aimed at adapting S3D, a high-fidelity turbulent reacting flow solver, to terascale computer technology. Ultimately, the project is expected to enable first-principles simulations of pollutant emissions (NOx, soot) from turbulent combustion systems.

”The SciDAC program has been having a multi-faceted impact on our research on numerical combustion,” Trouvé wrote. “Perhaps the most obvious aspect is that SciDAC has provided access to a nationwide high-performance scientific computing infrastructure. Access to resources at NERSC has allowed large-scale computations to be performed, pushing the limits of combustion science.”

Additionally, SciDAC has allowed Trouvé’s group to adapt their scientific software to large-scale, massively parallel platforms (MPP). The software is currently being re-designed using two standardized frameworks, an adaptive mesh refinement framework called GrACE and the Common Component Architecture (CCA), to enable cross-talk between different projects. Once this is done, Trouvé plans to exchange software components with a closely related project headed by Habib Najm at Sandia National Laboratories.

Trouvé also noted that the team-based, interdisciplinary approach fostered by SciDAC has helped assemble the necessary experts, such as applied mathematicians, computer scientists and application scientists, who are needed to meet the challenges associated with the complexities found in running scientific software on MPP platforms.

In his group’s project, Trouvé said that the applied mathematicians contributed the development of new algorithms; the computer scientists redesigned the software to fit into the standardized GrACE and CCA frameworks, and the combustion scientists contributed in the development of new physical modeling capabilities, including thermal radiation, soot formation and liquid sprays.

“SciDAC has also provided a critical mass of users, which thereby facilitates new software developments, maintenance and upgrades,” Trouve said, adding that eight other groups are now using the software developed by his group.

For more information, contact Arnaud Trouve at or read the project’s most recent update at <>.

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, the NERSC Center 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.