Gordon Bell Prize for bubble simulation

22.11.2013 | From the editors | Spotlight

For its simulations of imploding cloud cavitation bubbles, a team of scientists was awarded the prestigious Gordon Bell Prize for high-performance computing.

Scientists at ETH Zurich and IBM Research have set a new record in supercomputing in Fluid Dynamics in collaboration with the Technical University of Munich and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). They used 6.4 million threads on LLNL’s 96 rack Sequoia IBM BlueGene/Q, one of the fastest supercomputers in the world. This significant achievement was awarded the 2013 Gordon Bell Prize by the Association for Computing Machinery at Supercomputing ’13 (SC13). This prize is awarded each year to recognise outstanding achievement in high-performance computing. It is endowed with 10'000 US Dollar.

Team leader Petros Koumoutsakos, professor at the Computational Science and Engineering Lab of ETH Zurich, is overwhelmed: "This is a big surprise for our group. At the same time, it is a recognition of the outstanding capabilities of our students."

The simulations resolved 15,000 bubbles, a 150-fold improvement over the current state-of-the-art, along with a 20 fold reduction of time to solution. These are crucial improvements which pave the way for the investigation of cloud cavitation collapse, a complex phenomena leading to high pressure peaks that can damage turbine components and propellers. When harnessed, it can improve the design of high pressure fuel injectors and destroy kidney stones. Bubble cavitation is also an emerging therapeutic modality for cancer through tumor cell destruction and effective drug delivery.

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