EASi Engineering and TeraPort to develop ASP for stochastic analysis

EASi Engineering and TeraPort have joined forces to establish what they believe is the first worldwide stochastic Application Service Provider (ASP) facility.

The ASP will be operated jointly by both EASi and TeraPort and will be based on EASi’s stochastic simulation environment ST-ORM and TeraPort’s TeraPortal, which provides central access to compute intensive Engineering Applications like Crash, NVH, Computational Fluid Dynamics, and Structural Mechanics.

According to US hardware vendor SGI, the need for such stochastic simulation has emered because, in the automotive environment, no two vehicles are identical. These differences in the mechanical properties of similar vehicles, referred to as scatter, are a primary source of uncertainty when using simulation technology in the design of a vehicle for crashworthiness and safety.

Stochastic crash simulation – a technique that considers the behaviour of a population of vehicles, rather than a single deterministic vehicle, aims to help out. It’s a technique that was pioneered during 1997 by BMW, SGI, and an international R&D consortium led by CASA Space Division in Madrid, Spain.

The result of the collaboration produced the simulation software PROMENVIR (Probabilistic Mechanical Design Environment), an advanced meta-application design tool for conducting stochastic analysis of generic physical systems. Further feature and capability enhancements to PROMENVIR later produced EASi Engineering’s ST-ORM (stochastic optimisation and robustness management) system.

Stochastic techniques use Monte Carlo methods that require the cloning and parallel execution of a certain number of independent deterministic analyses. Following the success of the university experiments, BMW made its initial investment in SGI Origin family servers for stochastic simulation technology at its Engineering and Research Division in Munich.

Subsequently, a more in-depth evaluation with real BMW industrial cases led to the conclusion that stochastic simulation indeed played an important role not only in design for improved crashworthiness, but also toward the automotive industry’s goal of crashworthiness design optimisation of vehicles.

In response to these achievements, the Crash Simulation Group at BMW installed several SGI Origin family systems for industrial-scale implementation of stochastic crash simulation. Today a total of more than 700 processors of SGI Origin family systems are currently used at BMW for crashworthiness simulation using mainly the application PAM-CRASH, developed by Engineering Systems International of Rungis, France.

Stochastic crash simulation with the ST-ORM system is used together with single-vehicle deterministic analyses that may be conducted with PAM-CRASH; however, ST-ORM is independent of a particular software application used for crash analysis. In fact, ST-ORM can be extended to a broad range of structural, fluid-flow, and other applications.

The new stochastic ASP, which is claimed to be the first of it’s kind, will enable large-scale stochastic simulation to become accessible via the TeraPortal engineering gateway.

Dr. Andreas Rebetzky, managing director of TeraPort, said that regardless of small or large compute requirements, the customer will only pay for resources that actually have been used, very much like paying a monthly phone bill.’

The ASP model helps small companies acquire access to large computing resources, and it helps large companies to fulfill peak loads without needing to invest in permanent resources, which remain idle for most of the time,’ Rebetzky said.

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