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Bridge between worlds of simulation codes

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March 7, 2006

March 8, 2006 Simulation is vital to design and engineering: without repeated virtual testing, few high-end products would be what they are now. With an increasing need for high quality and reliable simulations multidisciplinary solutions become more and more important. Simulation technology is everywhere. Whether they are developing rocket engines, vehicle exhaust systems, bridges, heart valves or pressure valves, engineers always start by drawing up numerical equations.

The equations for determining the various forces that combustion chambers, buildings or valves have to withstand and those that they need to control come from diverse physical disciplines. They may deal with the flow characteristics of gases or liquids on one hand, and mechanical forces on the other. Established numeric simulation codes exist for a majority of problems, but these can only partially represent reality: Coupling of different simulation codes, each specialized for a specific physical regime, is becoming more and more important for numerical simulations, both in industry and in research. The reason is that in many real-world applications the interaction of different physical phenomena must be taken into consideration in order to achieve high-quality predictions. The magic formula is known as 'code coupling'.

This is why Klaus Wolf and his team of the Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing SCAI in Birlinghoven have been working for several years on a coupling software package for numerical simulations that will be independent of any specific manufacturer. In its latest version (3.0.5), MpCCI – short for 'Mesh-based parallel Code Coupling Interface' – combines nine common commercial codes and nearly a dozen in-house solutions with developments from universities and research institutes. Codes for fluid and structural mechanics, a special tool for radiation simulation, and a familiar code for electro-magnetic applications constitute the lion's share of the package.

Computer Scientist and product manager Klaus Wolf knows that although coupling multiple codes can hardly be considered a time-saving process, it has its benefits: "The preparations take longer because the relationships are more complex, but the resulting quality of the solution is considerably superior."

Customers from industry also know that and ask the MpCCI team to support their simulation codes in use. "There are still another five to ten commercial codes on our wish list. Adding those would enable us to cover 80 to 90 percent of the market", reports Wolf.

MpCCI 3.0.5 was introduced at the seventh user forum held on February 21– 22 at Schloss Birlinghoven.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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