About Blue Collar Computing(TM)

"Clearly, dramatically more compute capability is required...whitehouseto achieve needed results within the time frames required to affect the design process."

-Grand Challenge Case Study:
Full Vehicle Design Automation for Global Market Dominance.
Council on Competitiveness

What is Blue Collar Computing?

Blue Collar Computing (BCC) is advanced modeling, simulation and analysis (AMSA) for industries that do not currently have the time, money or expertise to invest in these crucial resources. Larger industries already know the important role that modeling, simulation and analysis plays in their success; the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) is working to bring the power of AMSA to small to midsize companies.

For more information about how to apply AMSA to your industry contact us.

Why Blue Collar Computing?

American manufacturers are under continuous pressure to deliver goods at lower price points and with improved quality. A key technology for achieving these goals is the use of advanced computational models and simulations at both the engineering design level, as well as the manufacturing level. Modeling in design processes allow engineers to explore a greater area of the possible “design space” for a product and deliver better designs in shorter times. Manufacturers can use simulations to analyze the behavior of materials during the manufacturing process and, based on that knowledge, improve efficiency by adjusting processes to improve yield and reduce waste.

Large companies have found a competitive advantage from such simulations by leveraging high-performance computing (HPC) systems and High Performance Technical Computing (HPTC) software. For example, General Motors is using parallel computing to simulate the crash testing of automobiles. General Motors claims that the digital computer crash simulations, made possible due to HPC hardware and HPTC software, can reduce the number of full-size crash vehicle tests by more than 85%, at a cost of $500,000 per test [1].

Unfortunately, only the largest firms have realized the advantages of advanced modeling and simulation. These firms had to make substantial investments to:

   1. Develop in-house computational modeling and simulation expertise
   2. Purchase the required HPTC software
   3. Purchase an HPC system (or HPC machine time from a shared center)

These “barriers to entry” place an undue burden on small and medium sized firms. This, in turn, leads to underutilization of computational simulations that can lower costs and improve efficiency.

Blue Collar Computing (BCC) is an approach to supplying advanced modeling, simulation and analysis solutions to companies without requiring large up-front investments. The BCC model is service-oriented, relying on amortizing the cost of expertise, software and hardware across many firms to reduce individual expenditures. The BCC model will enable the majority of U.S. firms to exploit AMSA.

Figure 1: OARnet provides network connectivity to BBC simulation services

How does Blue Collar Computing work?

In the BCC model, the client is a manufacturing or engineering firm that wishes to use computational modeling and simulation. These simulations may be run at varying levels of fidelity based on the criteria under study.

In this model, the simulation has several components:

1. Model Interface - The model interface is the user interface for the simulation application. An analyst (i.e, domain expert) creates the computational model and develops the model interface using knowledge of the client’s manufacturing process.
2. Small-Scale Solver - (Optional) HPTC software used to execute some of the numerical simulations. Provides faster turnaround time for small jobs.
3. HPC Portal Client - Together with the HPC Portal Server, provides middleware services between the client site and the HPC resource center. Handles transmission of job requests/results between sites.
4. HPC Portal Server - See above.
5. HPC Job Manager - Scheduler for shared systems at HPC center.
6. Large-scale solver - HPTC software used for computational simulation. Provides same functionality as small-scale solver, but may employ algorithms that have greater parallel scalability.

For more information about how to apply high performance computing to your industry contact us.

[1] “GM’s Vehicle Development Process Gets a Big Boost from the Latest in Supercomputers”, Automotive Design & Production