2018 Golden Spike Awards Recognize Outstanding Computational Research

10 October 2018

At the 21st Annual Results and Review Workshop, HLRS recognized three Hazel Hen users for their scientific excellence and innovative applications in parallel computing.

Each year, the HLRS Results and Review Workshop offers a unique opportunity for scientists who use the HLRS supercomputer to exchange ideas about their research and to discuss best practices in high-performance computing. On October 4-5, 2018, a total of 41 user projects were featured, including 22 scientific talks and 19 posters. The event showcased research across a wide range of scientific disciplines, including computational fluid dynamics, climate research, computer science, chemistry, physics, and biology.

Near the end of the workshop, HLRS presented Golden Spike Awards to representatives of three outstanding projects. The Golden Spikes recognize excellence in research and in innovative applications of high-performance computing. Recipients of the 2018 Golden Spike Awards were:

Mathis Bode, RWTH Aachen
Towards clean propulsion with synthetic fuels: Computational aspects and analysis

A member of the Institute for Combustion Technology at RWTH-Aachen, Bode explained that there is great interest in identifying alternative synthetic fuels that would be compatible with diesel engines, but that would produce less CO2, NOx, and particulates. Identifying potential fuels with the best properties, however, remains a challenge. Using a simulation code called CIAO, he worked with HLRS staff members to optimize modelling of the cavitation, primary breakup, evaporation, and chemistry of a synthetic fuel of interest as it is injected into a combustion chamber out of a nozzle. He explained that the work has identified new reaction pathways and produced data sets that his team has made available to the larger community of combustion scientists. 

Travis Jones, Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society
Sulfur in ethylene epoxidation on silver

Ethylene oxide is an important industrial chemical, with over 20 million tons produced each year by passing ethylene over a silver surface. But as Jones explained, even though the reaction is quite simple and commonly used, chemists still do not know exactly how it works. Using Hazel Hen to run simulations based on density functional theory, Jones and his colleagues investigated the role of surface oxygen and sulfur oxide species in the catalytic epoxidation of ethylene, gaining insights into the chemistry behind the reaction. Using similar methods, Jones reported, he has also been investigating other related compounds that are currently expensive to manufacture. This work is beginning to indicate promising strategies for doing so more efficiently.

Christoph Wenzel, University of Stuttgart
DNS of compressible turbulent boundary layers with adverse pressure gradients

Wenzel, a member of the University of Stuttgart's Institute for Aerodynamics and Gas Dynamics in the laboratory of Markus Kloker, used direct numerical simulation to investigate a novel topic that not many researchers have investigated in the past; namely, the turbulent activity at the surface of an airplane wing passing through air. Using the NS3D code, and achieving a computing efficiency improvement of 300%, they simulated a grid of approximately 1.5 billion grid points representing this interface. Although a single simulation can last up to 6 months on Hazel Hen, he explained, current state-of-the-art supercomputers can only represent a small sliver of the complete surface area of an airplane wing. Wenzel suggested that future growth in computing power at HLRS could enable his team to increase the size of the simulation domain to represent interactions across a wider surface more precisely.

Proceedings of the 2018 Results and Review Workshop are forthcoming from Springer.

Christopher Williams