The UK Turbulence Consortium first came into being in 1995 under the leadership of Professor Neil Sandham, University of Southampton. The grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) used to set up the consortium lasted for three years, at the end of which the UKTC applied for and were granted a further three years funding. In total there were five three-year sessions like this before the current funding award, which started in 2013. During this time the UKTC has demonstrated the ability to convert access to national high-performance computing (HPC) resources, such as ARCHER, into research of international calibre, and also acting as a focus and forum for UK-based turbulence simulation.
What is ARCHER?
ARCHER is the UK's current national high-performance computing facility, succeeding the CSAR, HPCx, and HECToR services. It comprises a Cray XC30 computer equipped with 72192 cores in 3008 nodes connected to each other using a Cray Aries interconnect. The computational resource this makes available is measured in allocation units (AUs), some of which are granted to the UK turbulence consortium by the EPSRC. The consortium then allocates these to members as required to run each project.
What is Turbulence?
The Oxford Dictionary defines turbulence as "violent or unsteady movement of air or water, or some other fluid". Most people have had some experience of the effects of turbulence when flying, but you can also see it in the wake of a boat or just when pouring milk into tea. Better knowledge of turbulence, why it happens, what the effects are etc, can help in a wide range of fields from aerodynamics to climatology. The behaviour of turbulence is often very complex and so the calculations connected to the study of turbulence are correspondingly complicated and time-consuming. Without high-performance computing facilities, such as ARCHER, many turbulence problems would be impossible to address.
To find out more about the basics of turbulence you may find the following links helpful: