Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


World’s Biggest Computer Grid Pours Water on Troubled Oils


In a unique experiment, five of the world’s fastest supercomputers, including Daresbury Laboratory-based HPCx, have been linked together into a seamless ‘Grid’ for the first time. This computational feat was matched by the unprecedented scale of the interactive calculation then carried out on this Grid, involving thousands of visualisations of around ten million times the amount of data used to play a typical home computer game. Once analysed, the data could help solve industrial problems and revolutionise the design of consumer products containing complex oil-and-water mixtures, from preventing crystallisation in oil pipelines and improving drug delivery to better shampoo and salad cream.

Scientists two continents apart plugged simultaneously into the combined processing power of HPCx and CSAR in the UK and the USA’s TeraGrid machines – loosely equivalent to 30, 000 typical PCs – to run massive three-dimensional simulations of some of the most ubiquitous and complex fluids on Earth. These adopt liquid-crystal like shapes called gyroids and their behaviour is near-impossible to predict by conventional fluid theory and simulation. ‘It’s a world-leading simulation, made possible by cutting-edge grid technology, and never before attempted on such a scale’, commented Dr Richard Blake, Associate Director of the Computational Science and Engineering Department at CCLRC Daresbury Laboratory, who coordinated the UK’s computational contribution to last month’s TeraGyroid Project experiment.

This was the first demonstration of the ambitious project, led by Peter Coveney, Professor of Physical Chemistry at University College London as part of a wider UK project, RealityGrid. The aim is to open up an entirely new field of science by exploiting the potential of interactive, high-performance computing. TeraGyroid Project scientists - the name comes from the terabytes (1, 000, 000, 000, 000 bytes) and Teraflops of data involved in the computation - want to predict the real-life behaviour of complex oil-and-water type mixtures because these are relevant to so many industrial, consumer and biochemical applications.

The new ‘Grid’ technology not only allows vast amounts of data to be handled but also speeds up its manipulation by allowing scientists to ‘steer’ a calculation as it is happening. As the simulation evolves, the models it produces are continuously converted to animated graphics that can be viewed on a laptop (and before long, also on a handheld PDA) anywhere on the Grid – each snapshot in time representing up to a billion numbers converted to pictures. Researchers can collaborate with colleagues anywhere on the Grid, throw out improbable scenarios, ‘joystick’ their way through the visual display, and return models to the supercomputers for the next stage in the simulation. ’Access to these supercomputing resources allows us to study the behaviour of complex interacting fluids on length and time scales which are totally unprecedented, in an area of utmost relevance to everyday life’, said Professor Coveney.

The TeraGyroid team scooped the High Performance Computing Challenge Award at the Supercomputing 2003 conference in Phoenix, Arizona on 20 November 2003 for their innovative demonstration.

The TeraGyroid Project was jointly funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the National Science Foundation, USA (NSF).

Tony Buckley | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Fraunhofer FIT joins Facebook's Telecom Infra Project
25.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions
21.10.2016 | Stanford University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>