Petaflops opportunities for the NASA fundamental aeronautics program

Dimitri J. Mavriplis*, David Darmofal, David Keyes, Mark Turner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The premise of this paper is the observation that the engineering community in general, and the NASA aeronautics program in particular, have not been active participants in the renewed interest in high performance computing at the national level. Advocacy for high performance computing has increasingly been taken up by the science community with the argument that computational methods are becoming a third pillar of scientific discovery alongside theory and experiment. Computational engineering, on the other hand, has continually been relegated to a set of mature software tools which run on commodity hardware, with the notion that engineering problems are not complex enough to warrant the deployment of state-of-the-art hardware on such a vast scale. We argue that engineering practices can benefit equally from an aggressive program in high performance computational methods, and that these problems are at least as important as science problems, particularly with regards to any national competitiveness agenda. Because NASA aeronautics has historically been a principal driver of computational engineering research and development, the current situation represents an opportunity for the NASA aeronautics program to resume its role as a leading advocate for high performance computational engineering at the national level. We outline a sample set of Grand Challenge problems which are used to illustrate the potential benefits a reinvigorated program could produce, and use these examples to identify critical barriers to progress and required areas of investment. We conclude by noting that other communities have spent significant efforts in formulating the case for increased investment in high performance computing activities, and that a similar roadmap will be required for the engineering community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCollection of Technical Papers - 18th AIAA Computational Fluid Dynamics Conference
Number of pages36
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes
Event18th AIAA Computational Fluid Dynamics Conference - Miami, FL, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2007Jun 28 2007

Publication series

NameCollection of Technical Papers - 18th AIAA Computational Fluid Dynamics Conference


Other18th AIAA Computational Fluid Dynamics Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMiami, FL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Automotive Engineering


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