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Mon Apr 30, 2012, 05:06 PM

Supercomputing Power Could Pave the Way to Energy-Efficient Engines

Neon lines and dots of aqua, violet, crimson, and pink dissolve into smoky swirls—that's what the burning of fuel looks like when it is simulated on one of the world's most powerful supercomputers.

These psychedelic snapshots could pave the way for the development of cars that use 25 percent to 50 percent less fuel than the autos of today. But the problem of improving upon the 150-year-old internal combustion engine is so complex that the scientists who work on it are eager for a major development in the supercomputing world to occur later this year. The U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee is set to deploy a massive upgrade to Jaguar, the nation's fastest supercomputer and Number 3 in the world. The new system, called Titan, is expected to work at twice the speed of the machine that is currently the fastest supercomputer in the world, Japan's K computer.

Although most news coverage of the supercomputing world focuses on the race among nations for supremacy (China leapfrogged the United States in 2010, and both were surpassed by Japan last year), Oak Ridge convened a conference last month in Washington, D.C., to focus on the real-world problems that high-power supercomputing seeks to address. Tackling the world's energy challenges is high on the list. Scientists are looking forward to bringing Titan's speed and power to calculations that may open the door to viable fusion technology, lead to a better understanding of climate change, and greatly improve that inefficient but ubiquitous energy generator—the internal combustion engine.

"We're at kind of an interesting time," mechanical engineer Jacqueline Chen, of the Sandia National Laboratories' combustion research facility, told the audience of about 100 supercomputing experts from around the world. "While we are still using monolithic fossil fuels—gasoline, diesel, and aviation fuels—there's a wide, diverse stream of new fuels that has emerged and is evolving." At the same time a new generation of high-efficiency, low-emissions combustion systems are in development. "So we've got two moving targets," she said. The simultaneous change in fuels and engine systems greatly complicates research to reduce petroleum reliance and lower carbon dioxide emissions.

"The only way to get there in a reasonable, timely manner is to really understand the underpinning fuel and combustion science," Chen said. Her work is aimed at developing validated models that will predict how new fuel and engine combinations will work, an effort she says will "greatly enable engine designers to shorten their product design cycles."

More: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2012/04/120430-titan-supercomputing-for-energy-efficiency/

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Reply Supercomputing Power Could Pave the Way to Energy-Efficient Engines (Original post)
Dead_Parrot Apr 2012 OP
PamW May 2012 #1

Response to Dead_Parrot (Original post)

Wed May 2, 2012, 11:10 AM

1. Actually...

The new system, called Titan, is expected to work at twice the speed of the machine that is currently the fastest supercomputer in the world, Japan's K computer.

The reign of Japan's K computer is coming to an end this year. Currently being deployed is the new world champion; Sequoia:


Sequoia is a petascale Blue Gene/Q supercomputer being constructed by IBM for the National Nuclear Security Administration as part of the Advanced Simulation and Computing Program (ASC). It was delivered to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2011 and will be fully deployed in 2012

When the plans for the IBM Sequoia were revealed in February 2009, the targeted performance of 20 petaflops was more than the combined performance of the top 500 supercomputers of the time. The 20 petaflops target will make Sequoia almost twice as fast as the current record-holding, 10.51 petaflops K computer and equal to the intended performance of the Cray Titan


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