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STAR-CCM+ Scales to 102,000 Cores on Blue Waters

blue watersNCSA recently announced a new world record by scaling CD-adapco’s flagship simulation tool STAR-CCM+ to 102,000 cores on the Blue Waters supercomputer.

STAR-CCM+ is a comprehensive multidisciplinary engineering simulation tool used across many industries to stimulate innovation and lower product development costs. CD-adapco joined with NCSA’s Private Sector Program and Blue Waters manufacturer Cray to push the code to new heights and address the ever-increasing demands of fast turnaround time.

Running STAR-CCM+ on the NCSA Blue Waters machine not only showcased our unrivaled technical competence in scaling large runs, but highlighted our industry-unique licensing model as well,” said Steve Feldman, Senior Vice President for IT at CD-adapco. “CD-adapco is the only major CAE vendor to provide licenses that are 100% uncoupled from the number of compute cores used in parallel to solve a problem. The financial benefits are huge, whether you run on a hundred or a hundred thousand cores.”

According to Ahmed Taha, the NCSA senior computational resource coordinator who led this extreme benchmarking project, using such a massive number of cores requires a powerful, robust MPI protocol, which was provided by Cray. CD-adapco also fine-tuned their code to improve parallel I/O.

The result of this collaborative effort over the past eight months was a steady increase in scaling, from a 105 million cell model running on 13,000 cores to a 1 billion cell model hitting the 102,000-core peak.

In addition to demonstrating the robustness of STAR-CCM+, the project also showed off the code’s impressive scaling efficiency. The 1 billion cell model was 93% efficient at 60,000 cores, 84% at 71,000 cores, 79% at 79,000 cores, and 75% at 102,000 cores.

This shows even users who run on lower core counts that they can benefit as well by reducing runtime,” Taha said.

These results were presented at the 2015 NCSA Private Sector Program Annual Meeting and the 2015 Blue Waters Symposium.

CD-adapco reports that the company is now creating a massive 2 billion cell simulation model which will allow the NCSA team to continue exploring the code’s scaling potential.

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