Tuesday, April 17, 2012

OpenFOAM 1.6-ext and GPU CFD

There has been some recent developments in application of GPUs (graphics processor units) for scientific computing. Only has the prominent CUDA language for programming for GPUs been released in 2006. GPU computing has been shown to offer an order of magnitude lower wall clock run times, at an order of magnitude of the price! It seems like the computing solution of the future for CFD at the very least! Its obstacle to widespread use has been in software implementation. But this is an obstacle that is fading away.

Here is a test case run by someone at the CFD-online forums:

So I was eager to buy a graphics card for $120 (GTX 550 Ti) and install OpenFOAM 1.6-ext, since Cufflink only works on 1.6-ext (I have been using 1.5-dev). There are quite a bit of differences, but it did not take me long to figure it out. The biggest difference is that 1.5-dev's GGI implementation uses PISO, and 1.6-ext uses PIMPLE. I could only get stability using smoothSolver for the turbulence quantities when using the kOmegaSST model (I only used smoothSolver in 1.5-dev as well because it was the only parallel-compatible solver I think, which may still be the case here...).

Looking forward to using the cutting-edge in software and computational power. Thanks to all the open source CUDA developers.


  1. Hello,

    Have you made any progress with the GPU accelerated 1.6-ext? Have you found an advantage over your CPU? Thanks,


  2. Hi Karl,
    I ended up abandoning this project because although I got it working, the acceleration was not available for GGI boundary condition. But certainly others have found improvements, you can check the forums at CFDOnline for a start. SpeedIT specializes in GPU acceleration so they may also have data that you would like to see.

  3. Thanks for your reply.

    I am running incompressible hydrofoil cases at low Re for now, so I am hoping it will work. I scored an old tesla server card from eBay and am now installing it in my desktop, so I should know if cufflink will work for me quite soon!