Alya Multi-Physics Scaled to 100,000 Cores on Blue Waters Supercomputer

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The Barcelona Supercomputing Center and NCSA have scaled the Alya multi-physics code to an unprecedented 100,000 cores on the Blue Waters supercomputer. At this scale, Alya makes it possible to simulate complex engineering problems such as airflow in the human body, contraction of the heart, and combustion in a kiln furnace.


While the majority of multi-physics codes are not prepared for large-scale simulations in supercomputers, with efficiency dropping as problems are scaled to a wider number of processors, Alya achieved more than 85 percent parallel efficiency running on Blue Waters.

These unprecedented results contradict the common belief that engineering simulation codes do not scale efficiently in large supercomputers, opening a new wide horizon of potential applications in the industrial realm,” says Seid Koric, the senior technical lead for industrial projects with NCSA’s Private Sector Program and an adjunct professor of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The Alya multi-physics parallel code has been under development at BSC since 2004 and is used to simulate complex engineering problems. Blue Waters is one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, capable of performing quadrillions of calculations per second and working with quadrillions of bytes of data.

Thanks to the high parallel efficiency attained in codes like Alya, exascale supercomputers will allow engineers and scientists to keep dreaming in projects that today are hard to imagine. Alya is a clear example of BSC’s efforts to scale complex codes and make these dreams come true,” says Mateo Valero, director at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center.

NCSA’s Private Sector Program and BSC plan to continue collaborating to test and improve Alya and to use it to solve large multi-physics problems for NCSA’s industrial partners.

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