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PyFR: High-Order Accurate Cross-Platform Petascale Computational Fluid Dynamics with Python

Event Type: 
Date and Time: 
Friday, March 10, 2017 - 16:15
CTR Conference Room 103
Event Sponsor: 
Parviz Moin, Director of Center for Turbulence Research
Dr. Freddie David Witherden, Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University

High-order numerical methods for unstructured grids combine the superior accuracy of high-order spectral or finite difference methods with the geometrical flexibility of low-order finite volume or finite element schemes. The Flux Reconstruction (FR) approach unifies various high-order schemes for unstructured grids within a single framework. Additionally, the FR approach exhibits a significant degree of element locality, and is thus able to run efficiently on modern many-core hardware platforms, such as graphics processing units (GPUs). The aforementioned properties of FR mean it offers a promising route to performing affordable, and hence industrially relevant, scale-resolving simulations of hitherto intractable unsteady flows within the vicinity of real-world engineering geometries. In this talk we will present PyFR an open-source, Python-based framework for solving advection-diffusion type problems using the FR approach. The framework is designed to target a range of hardware platforms via use of a domain specific language. With this PyFR is able to solve the compressible Euler and Navier-Stokes equations on grids of quadrilateral and triangular elements in two dimensions, and hexahedral, tetrahedral, prismatic, and pyramidal elements in three dimensions, targeting clusters of multi-core CPUs, NVIDIA GPUs, AMD GPUs, Intel Xeon Phis, and heterogeneous mixtures thereof. Results will be presented for various benchmark and "real-world" flow problems, and scalability/performance of PyFR will be demonstrated on clusters with thousands of NVIDIA GPUs. Throughout the talk the importance of algorithm-software-hardware co-design, in the context of next-generation computational fluid dynamics, will be highlighted. 

Dr. Witherden studied Physics with Theoretical Physics at Imperial College London between 2008–2012 earning an MSci degree with first class honours. In September of 2012 he started a PhD 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 he started a postdoctoral appointment in the department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University under the supervision of Professor Antony Jameson. Dr. Witherden's main research interests are in the development new and novel approaches to enable the simulation of hitherto intractable flow problems at extreme scale.