Practical CFD Simulations on Programmable Graphics Hardware using SMAC

01 Nov 2005

Carlos Scheidegger, Joao L. D. Comba, Rudnei D. da Cunha. Computer Graphics Forum, 24(4):715–728, 2005.

We show how to harness the computational power of GPUs and solve the incompressible Navier-Stokes fluid equations significantly faster (more than one order of magnitude in average) than on CPU solvers of comparable cost.

The explosive growth in integration technology and the parallel nature of rasterization-based graphics APIs changed the panorama of consumer-level graphics: today, GPUs are cheap, fast and ubiquitous. We show how to harness the computational power of GPUs and solve the incompressible Navier-Stokes fluid equations significantly faster (more than one order of magnitude in average) than on CPU solvers of comparable cost. While past approaches typically used Stam’s implicit solver, we use a variation of SMAC (Simplified Marker and Cell). SMAC is widely used in engineering applications, where experimental reproducibility is essential. Thus, we show that the GPU is a viable and affordable processor for scientific applications. Our solver works with general rectangular domains (possibly with obstacles), implements a variety of boundary conditions and incorporates energy transport through the traditional Boussinesq approximation. Finally, we discuss the implications of our solver in light of future GPU features, and possible extensions such as three-dimensional domains and free-boundary problems.

Paper in PDF format (~2.4MB).

A companion page with the source code is available here.