MAX Supporting Research in Turbulent Hypersonic Flows

Cyberinfrastructure is critical to the advancement of research and Mid-Atlantic Crossroads (MAX) has a critical role in this complex ecosystem. MAX supports the University of Maryland’s Department of Aerospace Engineering by providing computing resources and research support for the Cluster for Research on Complex Computations (CRoCCo) Laboratory.

The CRoCCo Laboratory was founded in 2002 by Dr. Pino Martin who currently serves as its director. The focus of the lab’s research is to create the engineering foundation for the accurate prediction of turbulent hypersonic flows, develop theory and numerical methods, perform space and time-accurate simulations, design new experiments to validate the numerical data, and collaborate with experimentalists. This research has many applications of interest to the U.S. Department of Defense and the space program, including problems of current interest in fields related to atmospheric hypersonic flight, supersonic combustion and access to space.

One of the goals of the CRoCCo Laboratory is to create an open database of traceable, standardized wall-bounded turbulent flows. The database is to include experimental and computational data, with the experiments and computations being performed under the exact same conditions for a 1:1 comparison, which will provide a major boon to future research of turbulent flows.

The CRoCCo Laboratory’s research has benefited immensely from the computing resources on MAX’s high-performance computing (HPC) cluster, Juggernaut, particularly the compute and file storage resources. The nascent database of turbulent flows will require significant amounts of storage, on the order of 1 petabyte, as well as a significant amount of computational resources to compare to the experimental results. Additionally, the database will need to be well connected to facilitate access by other researchers. To this end, this growing cluster is part of the ScienceDMZ on the MAX research infrastructure, which rides on the MAX production network and includes a 100 Gbps connection and other network-rich compute and storage resources. In addition, MAX modernized the CRoCCo Lab’s equipment hardware and networking components to allow for ongoing remote visualization and other capabilities. In particular, MAX worked with campus IT security at the university to create a process through which CRoCCo workstations could access the file system in the ScienceDMZ directly, bypassing normal campus firewalls. MAX also assists the CroCCo Lab by providing system administration support, user support, and general cluster support.

As the prediction of turbulent flows continues to be of paramount importance, the availability of sophisticated computational resources will play an increasingly significant role. “MAX is well-positioned to support this kind of research, and we see this as our core mission,” says Tripti Sinha, MAX executive director.