Daniel Bodony’s love of science began with a love of airplanes. He worked for one of his dad’s colleagues on the weekends who had an airplane. “I would mow his grass and he would let me fly,” Bodony remembers fondly.
Those early boyhood days fueled the fire for Bodony as he committed himself to a career as a military pilot but, at that time, a pilot who wore glasses was not allowed. Taking that in stride, Bodony decided he would instead design airplanes, only to experience another shift in his early career.
“When I got to college and started to design airplanes I realized that I liked the science behind the design more than I liked the design itself,” he said.
Bodony, the Blue Waters Associate Professor in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), is looking into the science surrounding the aeroacoustics of jet engines and researching how to make them quieter.
A veteran user of NSF high performance computing (HPC) resources since 2008, Bodony says: “The reason we use supercomputers is because in aeroacoustics there is no simple relationship that relates an unsteady flow field to the sound it creates. So we have to resort to elaborate experiments or simulations to try to come up with the contextual underpinnings that relate cause and effect. And we still haven’t done it. The fact that aircraft has gotten quieter over the years is more by accident than by design, and we’re trying to change that, but it relies on bigger calculations, bigger codes, and more complex computing capabilities.”
The computational challenges that Bodony and his team face invariably involve turbulence, which is an unsteady, chaotic motion of a fluid. In the practicalities of calculating a turbulent flow, a researcher has two options: 1) make many assumptions and have a small computational model or 2) make few assumptions and have a very large computational model. Because the researchers don’t yet understand sound generation at a fundamental level, they have to resolve all of the scales of motion involved in the turbulent flow.
“It’s a classical multi-scale problem,” Bodony says. “Computational research is required to resolve all of those scales which requires us to use the largest computers to which we have access – XSEDE’s Stampede being one of them.” The NSF Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) is the most advanced, powerful, and robust collection of integrated advanced digital resources and services in the world. It is a single virtual system that scientists can use to interactively share computing resources, data, and expertise.
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