Turbulent Flow Simulation on HPC-Systems

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Winter 18/19
Ionut-Gabriel Farcas, M.Sc., Friedrich Menhorn, M.Sc. (hons), Benjamin Rüth, M.Sc. (hons)
Time and Place
Mo, 08:00-10:00; Do, 10:00-12:00; Room: MI 02.07.023
Computational Science and Engineering, Informatics (masters), Mechanical Engineering (masters)
Semesterwochenstunden / ECTS Credits
3SWS/ 5 credits (IN, CSE) / 4 credits (MW)


The course materials will be provided on Moodle.


The module number of IN - Students is IN2311 and all IN-students have to register there. For MW students, it is MW2048.

For CSE students: This course is accepted for the catalogues "D2 Computational Fluid Dynamics" and "E3 Parallel and Distributed Computing, High Performance Computing".


The simulation of turbulent flows is a challenging problem: turbulence models are required to capture the correct physics and high-performance simulation codes are needed to exploit massively parallel systems in order to simulate relevant scenarios.

This course brings together students from computer science (IN) and mechanical engineering (MW) who work together in interdisciplinary teams to tackle this challenge:

  • computer scientists are experts with respect to efficiently solving numerical algorithms on different (e.g. massively parallel) platforms
  • mechanical engineers are familiar with the theory on turbulence modeling and the physics of flow problems

The student teams (2-4 persons with 1-2 persons from each discipline) work on a three-dimensional Navier-Stokes solver and

  • extend the solver for distributed parallel simulations using MPI (message passing interface),
  • incorporate turbulence models into the software.

Depending on the current tasks, students from IN or MW take the role of the "teachers" within the team. The work is accompanied by lectures on both

  • the scientific background in computational fluid dynamics and high-performance computing as well as
  • soft skill courses to enhance the interaction inside the team.

At the end of the course, each team should have a running 3-D turbulence simulation code.

Wind tunnel experiments are to be conducted at the end of the term to compare both simulation and experiment.

The teaching concept of this course Teamwork Across Disciplines: Interdisciplinarity Meets Supervised Teaching was awarded the Ernst-Otto-Fischer Lehrpreis in 2012. Further information can be found here.

The proposal of the concept can be downloaded here.


Mechanical Engineering:

  • Fundamentals of numerical fluid mechanics (MW0603, MW1913)
  • Turbulent flows (MW0595) + prereq.

Computer Science/ CSE:

  • Numerical programming (IN0019) and/ or
  • Parallel programming (IN2147) and/ or

Evaluation/ Grading

The grading is accomplished similar to lab courses by regular review sessions. In each review session, the team members present their work and are orally reviewed by the advisors.


see Moodle


  • D. Wilcox, Turbulence modeling for CFD
  • P.A. Libby, Introduction to turbulence
  • S.B. Pope, Turbulent flows
  • M. Griebel, T. Dornseifer, T. Neunhoeffer, Numerical simulation in fluid dynamics: a practical introduction