Sunday, August 28, 2011

Undergraduate CFD Education

CFD has become an indispensable design tool in many industries, especially in aerospace, automobile, micro-electronics, mechanical and chemical industries. The yearly worldwide revenue in CFD software is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. In many industries, undergraduate students with CFD skills are highly sought after.

Iowa State University has been a pioneer in CFD research and education for over 4 decades. One of the most popular CFD text books was written by ISU faculty (Tannehill, Anderson and Pletcher). ISU's aerospace engineering education has always a strong emphasis on CFD fundamentals and computer programming. A basic CFD course has been taught as a senior elective for many decades, and has been a very popular one.

There is another paradigm in CFD education, maybe to reduce the cost at the undergraduate level. In this paradigm, students are taught how to use a particular commercial CFD software. The course is then centered around one CFD tool. The students learn "push button" CFD without having to learn how to program any computer languages. This paradigm has even been adopted by some PhD programs. In fact, I was told by a friend in the industry that he interviewed a PhD in CFD, who does not know what the Navier-Stokes equations are!   

I would like to know whether our way of teaching CFD is out of dated. Do leave a comment if you have an opinion. In addition, do you have a preference on which language should be taught, Fortran, c, C++, ...?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Teaching CFD online, for the first time

This would be an interesting experience as I cannot write on the white-board. In addition, I cannot move much from the location where the camera is focused to. One big advantage of the online course is that I could record a lecture or two when I travel.

The Fall class of graduate and undergraduate students plus online students will be the largest ever, which will start next week. We will see...

BTW, the course outline is here:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Welcome to my blog on CFD and others...

Hello CFDers/visitors,

Greetings and welcome!

This is my first ever blogging experience. Obviously the primary topic will be CFD (i.e., computational fluid dynamics), which happens to be what I do in my job (sometimes as a hobby too). But I will also share thoughts on any other topics of personal interest. I am not a very organized person, and therefore I do not expect any "structures" in whatever I post here. Hopefully they are still useful in some way. Please feel free to let me know your comments or suggestions, and I will try my best to respond.

My primary research interest  is on adaptive high-order CFD methods, which are 3rd order accurate or higher, and capable of handling unstructured grids. As a matter of fact, any structured grids can be treated as unstructured grids, and in a very efficient manner. I am working to make these high-order methods more efficient, robust and user friendly. For a snapshot on what these methods can do,  here is a movie on the simulation of vortex breakdown and transition:

More later...