Supercomputer research done at PDC
High performance computing (HPC) is used in research to replace costly physical experiments and to process huge amounts of observational data. Researchers in many fields use PDC's resources for these types of HPC research.
Why are researchers using HPC to assist their research?
As the use of computationally intensive simulations and modelling becomes more and more a part of research, even in disciplines that had previously involved more practical laboratory work, there is an ever-increasing demand for high performance computing.
One aspect of this is where HPC modelling replaces physical experiments, for example, many wind tunnel tests can be replaced by computer simulation today.
Another aspect is that the physical experiments that are done today often produce enormous amounts of data that need to be stored and processed to give results that are useful and possible to understand; the necessary processing often involves HPC.
Examples of research areas using HPC at PDC
PDC's supercomputers are used by researchers from a wide range of research areas.
The simulation of molecules and their interactions are a cornerstone in biomolecular and materials science research. Researchers from KTH and Stockholm University develop GROMACS, the leading molecular dynamics simulation code which is used worldwide.
Researchers from the Department of Meteorlogy at Stockholm University (MISU) and the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) are using HPC for climate modelling. They have been conducting global-scale simulations that contribute to the IPCC Reports, and have been contributing to the development of the EC-Earth global climate model: www.ec-earth.org .
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have been using HPC models of tokamaks to perform simulations of the plasma in a future fusion power plant. To do real-life experiments with plasma is extremely costly, so simulations are performed to prepare for eventual physical experiments.
Researchers from the Linné FLOW Centre and SeRC have been replacing physical wind tunnel tests with HPC. They have been using a virtual wind tunnel to perform large-scale simulations (3.2 billion grid points) to analyze turbulent flow around the wings of airplanes - this is mportant for decreasing turbulent drag on planes, and thus reducing fuel usage and emissions.
The human brain is extremely complex. One method that computational brain science researchers at KTH have been using to help us understand the brain is to simulate parts of the brain with supercomputers using biological descriptions of each cell in the brain. In the future it may also be possible to design computers that are based on similar principles to the brain.