[Beowulf] Physics Problems for Beowulf

Jim Lux James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Tue Feb 21 13:58:56 EST 2006

```At 03:31 PM 2/18/2006, Timo Mechler wrote:
>Hello all,
>
>Over the past couple years I have done research one Beowulf clusters and
>also implemented the first one at my school.  Now that I'm getting closer
>to graduating, I'm looking of turning all this work into a senior project.
>  The only part that's missing though, is a good physics problem that I
>could code up a numerical solution for and run in parallel.  I have done
>some of this, but it's mostly been simple stuff, such as a simple
>numerical integration via the Monte Carlo method in parallel.  I know some
>of you on this list are professors and professionals that have extensive
>physics knowledge.  What sorts of physics problems would you suggest I
>might be able to code up that would take a some time run on a Beowulf
>cluster?  I'm going to be using Fortran 77 with MPI libraries as my base
>for coding.  Thanks in advance for your help on this, I appreciate it.
>
>Best Regards,
>
>-Timo Mechler
>

Electromagnetics problems are always interesting (to me, anyway).  For
instance, you could do a method-of-moments calculation.  Or, for a more
"gridded" kind of problem, some sort of FDTD (finite difference time
domain) would be interesting.

On a more exotic nature, EM propagation modeling is quite computationally
intensive, depending on the fidelity of the model.  An interesting one
would be to model the propagation of the HF noise from lightning strokes
via the ionosphere (which is a anisotropic medium) and drive it with actual
lightning stroke data (as a spatial distribution) to determine the
background noise level at any given point on the earth (and the directions
of arrival).

Actually, a 3D model of the growth and propagation of a long spark in air
is a fascinating problem (see, for example, "Spark Discharge" by Bazelyan

Seismic and acoustic problems are fairly challenging, because of the
nonlinearities and anisotropies of the propagation medium.

Heat transfer problems are interesting, and parallizeable.  Where would we
be today if Fourier hadn't studied thermal distribution problems in making
cannons.

All manner of "inversion" problems with some sort of relaxation of an
estimated model using a forward simulator. (i.e. given what you measure at
the surface, what's the inside look like).

You could be a real friend to the impoverished archaeological community by
figuring out how to invert surface conductivity measurements to small scale
structural features, particularly if the surface isn't flat.  In the 1.5D
world (i.e. a series of measurements along a line), someone's done this
with Excel, so clearly, the theoretical math isn't mindbendingly complex.

Do something interesting to YOU!

James Lux, P.E.
Flight Communications Systems Section
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mail Stop 161-213
4800 Oak Grove Drive