HLRS and WIKKI GmbH Win HPC Innovation Excellence Award

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Members of the coherent file format development team: Flavio Galeazzo (HLRS), Sergey Lesnik (WIKKI GmbH), Gregor Weiß (HLRS), and Andreas Ruopp (HLRS). (Not pictured: Henrik Rusche, WIKKI GmbH).

The award recognizes the researchers’ development of the coherent file format, which will make simulation using OpenFOAM faster and more accessible for science and industry.

The High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) and WIKKI GmbH, a leading OpenFOAM consultancy and software development company, have been named winners in the 19th HPC Innovation Excellence Awards. The award recognizes their development of a novel approach called the coherent file format, which enables OpenFOAM — a popular, open source software for computational fluid dynamics — to run much larger simulations much more efficiently. Using the coherent file format, the team efficiently ran a large-scale OpenFOAM simulation on 4,096 nodes (524,288 CPU cores) of HLRS’s Hawk supercomputer. This size exceeded the previous scaling record for a simulation using OpenFOAM by a factor of four.

In addition to setting this record, the achievement is notable because the coherent file format dramatically reduces workflow times for OpenFOAM users. This will make simulation more accessible to users in academia and industry who do not have access to large supercomputing systems. The code is available on an open source basis for the global OpenFOAM community at https://code.hlrs.de/exaFOAM.

The coherent file format was initially conceived by Dr. Henrik Rusche, CEO of WIKKI GmbH and one of OpenFOAM’s lead developers. It accelerates simulation workflows by simplifying data management and eliminating several time-consuming steps that are typically required when using the software.

Learn more about the coherent file format here.

Reflecting on the achievement, Rusche said, "The fundamental concepts for the coherent file format for OpenFOAM date back to 2016 and it took seven years to secure the funding, to put these ideas into practice, and to demonstrate them. While the journey is ongoing, receiving the HPC Innovation Award for it is truly gratifying."

HLRS scientists Dr. Gregor Weiß, Dr. Andreas Ruopp, and Dr. Flavio Galeazzo worked closely with Dr. Sergey Lesnik and Dr. Henrik Rusche from WIKKI GmbH to develop the coherent file format for high-performance computing systems. The research was conducted within the project exaFOAM, which is sponsored by the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Gregor Weiß welcomed the award, saying, “We're absolutely thrilled about the recognition, but the true winners here are the users, engineers, and developers of the OpenFOAM community. Exciting opportunities lie ahead, and we eagerly anticipate the incredible developments to come.“

The HPC Innovation Awards recognize noteworthy achievements in the field of high-performance computing. Announced twice each year, the awards are coordinated by HPC market analysts Hyperion Research, Inc.

This is the second year in a row that HLRS has received an HPC Innovation Award. In 2022, HLRS and the German Federal Institute of Population Research were named for their implementation of a simulation that predicted the occupancy of intensive care units across Germany during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Christopher Williams

Related publication

Weiß RG, Rusche H, Lesnik S, Galeazzo FCC, Ruopp A. Preprint. Coherent mesh representation for parallel I/O of unstructured polyhedral meshes. J Supercomputing.