GPU accelerated simulations of bluff body flows using vortex particle methods

Diego Rossinelli, Michael Bergdorf, Georges-Henri Cottet, Petros Koumoutsakos
Chair of Computational Science, ETH Zurich, CH-8092, Switzerland
Journal of Computational Physics, Vol. 229, No. 9. (01 May 2010), pp. 3316-3333.


   title={GPU accelerated simulations of bluff body flows using vortex particle methods},

   author={Rossinelli, D. and Bergdorf, M. and Cottet, G.H. and Koumoutsakos, P.},

   journal={Journal of Computational Physics},








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We present a GPU accelerated solver for simulations of bluff body flows in 2D using a remeshed vortex particle method and the vorticity formulation of the Brinkman penalization technique to enforce boundary conditions. The efficiency of the method relies on fast and accurate particle-grid interpolations on GPUs for the remeshing of the particles and the computation of the field operators. The GPU implementation uses OpenGL so as to perform efficient particle-grid operations and a CUFFT-based solver for the Poisson equation with unbounded boundary conditions. The accuracy and performance of the GPU simulations and their relative advantages/drawbacks over CPU based computations are reported in simulations of flows past an impulsively started circular cylinder from Reynolds numbers between 40 and 9500. The results indicate up to two orders of magnitude speed up of the GPU implementation over the respective CPU implementations. The accuracy of the GPU computations depends on the Re number of the flow. For Re up to 1000 there is little difference between GPU and CPU calculations but this agreement deteriorates (albeit remaining to within 5% in drag calculations) for higher Re numbers as the single precision of the GPU adversely affects the accuracy of the simulations.
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