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Supercomputers impact aeroplane design

 
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This is the fourth in a series of blog posts from our Year 10 Information Technology in a Global Society (ITGS) students on the impact of High Performance Computing (HPC) in a global society. Each year the Research Computing Centre (RCC) at UQ, provide funding for four QASMT students to attend a Super Computing Conference. In Year 10 we introduce our ITGS students to HPC and learning to blog as a 21st century skill.

Written by David Ramsay

Presentation of the HPC Application

Transportation has become a massive part of our economy since commercial flights started around 60 years ago. Supercomputers have allowed for better design of planes, specifically on improving the shape of the wings. Joaquim Martins and his team of researchers from the University of Michigan collaborated with the University of Texas to use their Stampede supercomputer, as well as computing systems at NASA and UM.

Recently automatic fibre placement machines had been developed and was to be used on a Boeing 777X, and used ‘machines that took the technology’s (composite part building) speed, scale and precision to whole new levels’ (Gates, 2016). Design space had just greatly widened, and people were not sure how to utilize this new technology. The team therefore designed algorithms to optimise the placement of composite parts within plane wings, creating aircraft that would be more fuel efficient. Martins’ team developed simulation software called uCRM that calculated thousands of different simulations of flights taking in thousands of different factors. 

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Aeroplane (China Southern)

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Last reviewed 17 September 2019
Last updated 17 September 2019