Alonso J M, Alvarruiz F, Hernandez V, Vidal A M
HPC in the building construction sector
Abstract: In the context of the HIPERCOSME project (1) (ESPRIT project 20059), the Universidad Politecnica de Valencia (UPV) in collaboration with Spanish partners, developed a new High Performance Computing (HPC) demonstrator to calculate Reinforced Concrete Building Structures. Starting from a sequential software package, the objective of that project was to develop a portable parallel software package, able to cope with large scale problems and more realistic models (more information could be obtained in http://wwwcopa.dsic.upv.es/copa_eng.html).
The performance of the prototype was analysed by means of a test battery composed of 4 real buildings. The performance of the prototype was compared to that of the original sequential package, showing that the former was from 20 up to 60 times faster than the latter. Besides, since a trial and error process must be carried out, the best and cheapest structural solution can be obtained. This leads to a reduction of the cost of the constructive elements and an increase in safety. On the other hand, and as a consequence of the code performance, a 3D approach to the problem of computing the building structure can be performed.
Hardware and software requirements for this prototype are very common.The parallel platform can be a cluster of Ethernet linked PC's running under an easily available operating system such as LINUX (public domain) and the PVM passing message environment (public domain also). Moreover, the application is portable and can be run on other computers and parallel systems.
Thus, in the context of the project, five Workshops were organised to promote the results in the European regions where the project partners belonged to. In these Workshops, Demonstration Actions were carried out with the presence of different small and medium size construction enterprises of each region.
Co-operation among the partners led to contacts with new construction companies interested in the HPCN framework. As a consequence, six Assessment Studies were developed with European construction companies from Spain, Portugal, France and Greece, in order to understand the needs of the European market.
UPV is the Valencian Community node of HIPERTTN. This technological Transfer Node is part of the METIER action in the HPCN PST activities of the IV ESPRIT Programme. TTN's try to stimulate the technology transfer and dissemination of the results of the HPCN projects in Europe. As a consequence, a Construction Sector Group has been recently created in this TTN Network.
In the full paper, we will describe the technical work developed in the project, both from the point of view of the computational tools and the experience of transference of technology to the Construction Sector.
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. The assistance of the editors, Prof. Bo-Christer Björk and Dr. Adina Jägbeck, is gratefully appreciated.