CONFRONTING ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT’S TOUGHEST CHALLENGES WITH COMPUTATIONAL ENGINEERING By Youssef M. Marzouk and Karen E. Willcox
Computational engineering has an
At a basic level, computational modeling facilitates
essential role to play in addressing the energy and environmental challenges facing the next generation of aerospace systems.
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
Annual Report 2009-2010