Large calculation of the flow over a hypersonic vehicle using a GPU

E. Elsen, P. Legresley, E. Darve
Journal of Computational Physics, Vol. 227, No. 24. (20 December 2008), pp. 10148-10161


   title={Large calculation of the flow over a hypersonic vehicle using a GPU},

   author={Elsen, E. and LeGresley, P. and Darve, E.},

   journal={Journal of Computational Physics},








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Graphics processing units are capable of impressive computing performance up to 518 Gflops peak performance. Various groups have been using these processors for general purpose computing; most efforts have focussed on demonstrating relatively basic calculations, e.g. numerical linear algebra, or physical simulations for visualization purposes with limited accuracy. This paper describes the simulation of a hypersonic vehicle configuration with detailed geometry and accurate boundary conditions using the compressible Euler equations. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the most sophisticated calculation of this kind in terms of complexity of the geometry, the physical model, the numerical methods employed, and the accuracy of the solution. The Navier-Stokes Stanford University Solver (NSSUS) was used for this purpose. NSSUS is a multi-block structured code with a provably stable and accurate numerical discretization which uses a vertex-based finite-difference method. A multi-grid scheme is used to accelerate the solution of the system. Based on a comparison of the Intel Core 2 Duo and NVIDIA 8800GTX, speed-ups of over 40x were demonstrated for simple test geometries and 20x for complex geometries.
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