Three Golden Spike Awards Announced at 23rd Annual Results and Review Workshop

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This year's awards celebrated research focused on improving efficiency of air travel, developing higher-resolution models of climate change, and understanding the transport of chemicals across biological membranes.

An important annual event at the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS), the Results and Review Workshop offers an opportunity for its scientific users, as well as users of computing systems at the Steinbuch Centre for Computing in Karlsruhe (SCC), to meet and discuss their research over the past year.


Although the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible for this year's meeting to take place in person, an online version of the workshop was held on October 8-9, 2020. The program featured 25 scientific talks, as well as a virtual poster session that included 20 posters made available as PDF files. As usual, the workshop presented computational research across a wide range of scientific disciplines, including computational fluid dynamics, reactive flows, weather and climate simulation, materials research, bioinformatics, molecular dynamics, physics, and structural mechanics, among others.

At the conclusion of the meeting, HLRS's Björn Dick and colleagues held a tutorial on HLRS's enhanced user support program and some examples of successful efficiency optimization activities the team has enabled.

Golden Spike Award Winners

As in past years, the winners of the 2020 Golden Spike Awards were also announced, recognizing excellence in computational research and in innovative applications of high-performance computing. Prof. Dr. Dietmar Kröner of the University of Freiburg, vice-chairman of the HLRS steering committee, identified the following investigators as this year's Golden Spike Award winners.

Marian Albers, Institute of Aerodynamics, RWTH Aachen University

Comparison of two airfoils for active drag reduction in turbulent flow

Increasing energy efficiency in air travel has a role to play in reducing global emissions of CO2. Marian Albers reported on large simulations that he and colleagues in the Institute of Aerodynamics at RWTH Aachen University have been conducting to investigate active flow control of the turbulent flow over two airfoils. Their large-eddy simulations demonstrated a substantial decrease of the total integrated drag together with a slight increase in lift, as well as a decrease of turbulent stresses and an attenuation of the boundary layer growth.

Gerd Schädler, Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Regional climate simulations with COSMO-CLM: CORDEX Africa and CORDEX FPS convection

Increasing the resolution of climate simulations at the regional level would improve ability to predict the impacts of climate change, identify vulnerabilities, and develop adaptation strategies. Gerd Schädler and colleagues have been using HLRS supercomputing resources to contribute to the development of high-resolution ensemble models of specific regions, reaching a resolution of as small as approximately 3 square kilometers. Their contributions include work focusing on regions of West Africa that face risks due to rising temperatures and diminishing water resources.

Lars Schäfer, Institute of Theoretical Chemistry, Ruhr University Bochum

Caught in the act: all-atom molecular dynamics simulations of substrate transport in the ABC exporter TM287/288

ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters are a class of proteins located at the cell membrane that are involved in transporting substrates in and out of the cell. Mutations in the genes that code ABC transporters have been linked to human diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Stargardt disease, and Alzheimer's disease. Schäfer used molecular dynamics simulations to study changes in the protein's shape when transporting substrates across a membrane, producing an atomic-level description of how this process occurs. In the future, such information could help to better understand and manipulate the proteins' function.

Click here to learn more about the Golden Spike Awards, including past winners.

Christopher Williams