Real-Time Visualization of Aerospace Simulations using Comptutational Steering and Beowulf Clusters

Open Access
Modi, Anirudh
Graduate Program:
Computer Science and Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
July 18, 2002
Committee Members:
  • Mark David Maughmer, Committee Member
  • Rajeev Sharma, Committee Member
  • Paul E Plassmann, Committee Chair
  • Lyle Norman Long, Committee Chair
  • Padma Raghavan, Committee Member
  • real-time systems
  • parallel simulations
  • visualization
  • computational steering
  • cfd
  • virtual reality
In this thesis, a new, general-purpose software system for computational steering has been developed to carry out simulations on parallel computers and visualize them remotely in real-time. The steering system is extremely lightweight, portable, robust and easy to use. As a demonstration of the capabilities of this system, two applications have been developed. A parallel wake-vortex simulation code has been written and integrated with a Virtual Reality (VR) system via a separate graphics client. The coupling of computational steering of parallel wake-vortex simulation with VR setup provides us with near real-time visualization of the wake-vortex data in stereoscopic mode. It opens a new way for the future Air-Traffic Control systems to help reduce the capacity constraint and safety problems resulting from the wake-vortex hazard that are plaguing the airports today. In another application, an existing computational fluid dynamics code has been integrated with the steering system to enable interactive visualization of complex flow simulations from any remote workstation. Benefits of scalability and dimensional reduction arising from this approach have been imperative in the development of this system. This system makes the visualization of flow simulations easier, efficient, and most-importantly without any delay as and when the results are generated, thus giving the user much greater flexibility in interacting with the huge amounts of data. At a more basic level, the ability to get "immersed" in the complex solution as it unfolds using the depth cue of the stereoscopic display and the near real-time nature of the computational steering system opens a whole new dimension to the scientists for interacting with their simulations.