Recent advancements in High Performance Computing (HPC) will soon allow for the use of exascale systems, computing systems able to perform one trillion operations per second, in industrial practice. The EU-funded ExaQUte (EXAscale Quantification of Uncertainties for Technology and Science Simulation) project aims at applying such systems to real engineering applications and improve our current physics simulation capabilities.

Colorful visual presenting the name of the project

ExaQUte is an ongoing project that started in June 2018 for a 3-year period and benefits from an EU funding of about € 3 million under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation funding programme. One of the main achievements of the ExaQUte project so far is the construction of an analysis framework enabling Uncertainty Quantification (UQ) and Optimization Under Uncertainties (OUU) in complex engineering problems.

Today, we can use numerical methods to accurately simulate and predict the behavior of a real phenomenon (for instance the interaction of structures and fluids, such as a building and the wind), provided that the values of relevant parameters at the initial state are known beforehand. This type of analysis can be costly for large and accurate cases, such a whole high-rise building, but it is still doable with our current technology. Uncertainty comes into play when some of the input parameters of our problem are not exactly known a priori. Then, since the inputs for the simulation are not exact, the solution of the problem we are simulating will not be the exact one. This could be extremely costly for an enterprise running simulations to create new prototypes and design new products.

The approach of ExaQUte to overcome this situation implies performing a large number of repeated simulations with similar but different input and boundary parameters, as opposed to running only one huge simulation. This strategy relies on the use of supercomputers to perform billion of parallel calculations. By doing so, ExaQUte aims at understanding the relation between the uncertainty  and final result, in the smallest possible amount of time

The primary application area of the project concerns wind engineering, a field of notable industrial interest for which currently no reliable solution exists. The recent developments of the project have been successfully tested in application to simplified problems and are progressively being applied to problems of increasing complexity. The objective is to include the quantification of uncertainties in the response of civil engineering structures to the wind action, and the shape optimization taking into account uncertainties related to wind loading, structural shape and material behavior.

In the future, the methods and tools developed in ExaQUte will be applicable to many fields of science and technology and will be available in an open-source format.

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