AeroAstro Annual 7
Annual Report 2009-2010
29 Confronting energy and environment’s toughest challenges with computational engineering At a basic level, computational modeling facilitates discovery by helping engineers and scientists develop a deeper understanding of physical processes. This understanding underpins a more fundamental approach to the design of novel aerospace systems, expedited by computational design tools. Dramatic improvements in computer hardware and algorithms are generating opportunities for computational methods in a growing class of multidisciplinary problems. Computation now supports all aspects of the discovery and decision process: characterization of system properties, experimental design, prediction of system performance, and decision — design, planning, optimization and control. Each of these steps is key to meeting 21st century energy and environmental challenges. Prior to the modern computing era, discovery and decision were driven largely by a combination of ad hoc empirical modeling and experimentation. With the availability of supercomputing came the development of simulation-based analysis tools, such as computational fluid dynamics. As high performance computing moved from the supercomputer to the desktop, simulation-based analysis changed the face of aerospace design. Still, using simulation to drive discovery and decision remains out of reach for many large-scale and multidisciplinary systems. These are exactly the class of systems that describe the environmental impacts of aviation and the end-to-end costs of energy conversion. Realizing the benefits of compu- CONFRONTING ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT’S TOUGHEST CHALLENGES WITH COMPUTATIONAL ENGINEERING By Youssef M. Marzouk and Karen E. Willcox Computational engineering has an essential role to play in addressing the energy and environmental chal- lenges facing the next generation of aerospace systems.