A project to investigate materials with complex architectures has been awarded 3 million processor hours (worth £1.6M or over $3M) on HECToR. The award is the largest under EPSRC’s recent call for Capability Challenge projects to use the full capability of the 60TFLOPS Cray XT4 to push the frontiers of computational science. The project will extract finite element models from images of material samples and then run finite element simulations of the materials properties.
The project’s Principal Investigator, Dr Lee Margetts, notes the scaling challenge of the project:
One of the most significant challenges is to ensure that ParaFEM, the parallel finite element software to be used, will make efficient use of up to 8,000 processors for each analysis undertaken. As the models to be used will comprise many billions of finite elements, this will pose two other technical hurdles: the creation of the models themselves and the analysis of the results.
Work will also be undertaken to develop the scalability of the ParaFEM software itself, building on the expertise in scalable MPI collectives and I/O within the HPC team at Manchester, and in the visualization interface to the simulations.