Interactive Fluid-Structure Interaction With Many-Core Accelerators

  • Mark Mawson

Student thesis: Phd


The use of accelerator technology, particularly Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), for scientific computing has increased greatly over the last decade. While this technology allows larger and more complicated problems to be solved faster than before it also presents another opportunity: the real-time and interactive solution of problems. This work aims to investigate the progress that GPU technology has made towards allowing fluid-structure interaction (FSI) problems to be solved in real-time, and to facilitate user interaction with such a solver. A mesoscopic scale fluid flow solver is implemented on third generation nVidia 'Kepler' GPUs in two and three dimensions, and its performance studied and compared with existing literature. Following careful optimisation the solvers are found to be at least as efficient as existing work, reaching peak efficiencies of 93% compared with theoretical values.These solvers are then coupled with a novel immersed boundary method, allowing boundaries defined at arbitrary coordinates to interact with the structured fluid domain through a set of singular forces. The limiting factor of the performance of this method is found to be the integration of forces and velocities over the fluid and boundaries; the arbitrary location of boundary markers makes the memory accesses during these integrations largely random, leading to poor utilisation of the available memory bandwidth. In sample cases, the efficiency of the method is found to be as low as 2.7%, although in most scenarios this inefficiency is masked by the fact that the time taken to evolve the fluid flow dominates the overall execution time of the solver.Finally, techniques to visualise the fluid flow in-situ are implemented, and used to allow user interaction with the solvers. Initially this is achieved via keyboard and mouse to control the fluid properties and create boundaries within the fluid, and later by using an image based depth sensor to import real world geometry into the fluid.The work concludes that, for 2D problems, real-time interactive FSI solvers can be implemented on a single laptop-based GPU. In 3D the memory (both size and bandwidth) of the GPU limits the solver to relatively simple cases. Recommendations for future work to allow larger and more complicated test cases to be solved in real-time are then made to complete the work.
Date of Award1 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAlistair Revell (Supervisor) & Robert Prosser (Supervisor)


  • Immersed Boundary
  • GPU
  • Lattice Boltzmann

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