Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Virtual Wind Tunnel in IEEE CiSE

Some of our recent work on a system for collaborative engineering design was recently featured in the September issue of IEEE Computing in Science and Engineering focused on "Open Simulation Laboratories"  This project was part of a collaboration between faculty in the computer science and civil engineering departments, Open Sourcing the Design of Civil Infrastructure.

CCL grad student Peter Sempolinski led the design and implementation of an online service enabling collaborative design and evaluation of structures, known as the "Virtual Wind Tunnel".  This service enables structural designs to be uploaded and shared, then evaluated for performance via the OpenFOAM CFD package.  The entire process is similar to that of collaborative code development, where the source (i.e. a building design) is kept in a versioned repository, automated builds (i.e. building simulation) are performed in a consistent and reproducible way, and test results (i.e. simulation metrics) are used to evaluate the initial design.  Designs and results can be shared, annotated, and re-used, making it easy for one engineer to build upon the work of another.

The prototype system has been used in a variety of contexts, most notably to demonstrate the feasibility of crowdsourcing design and evaluation work via Amazon Turk.

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