A Simulation Milestone
Until around 1980, few researchers attempted to simulate even very simple
turbulent flows in their entirety. That year we and our co-workers at the NASA
Ames Research Center used a pioneering parallel computer, the ILLIAC-IV, to
perform the largest turbulence simulations achieved until then. The work was well
received; soberingly enough, however, it was not the quality of the data that won
over many of our colleagues but rather a five-minute motion picture of the
simulated flow. The movie showed trajectories of marker particles in a turbulent
flow between parallel plates (left); remarkably, it resembled similar
visualizations made two decades earlier, by filming actual water flow in a
laboratory at Stanford University (right).
--P.M. and J.K.
Credit left: Parviz Moin and John Kim; Credit right: Steven Kline