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Structural Analysis using Multiple CPUs

Fort Wayne

August 11th, 2014

Leonardo Freire Marques

Leslie A. Grundman

Structural Analysis using Multiple CPUs

Fort Wayne

August 11th, 2014

1

Table of Contents

Introduction .................................................................................................................................................. 3

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) .................................................................................................................... 3

NX Nastran ................................................................................................................................................ 3

Shared Memory Processing ...................................................................................................................... 4

Data and Results ........................................................................................................................................... 5

Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................................... 7

Future work................................................................................................................................................... 7

References .................................................................................................................................................... 8

2

Introduction

Finite Element Analysis (FEA)

To perform the finite element analysis is used the finite element method.(FEM) It

is a mathematical technique used to obtain approximate solutions to complex problems

that cannot be solved using basic theories[1].

FEM works by breaking down a real object into a large number of finite elements,

therefore it splits up a complex problem into a greater number of simpler problem

(elements are simple geometric shapes like triangles or quadrilaterals for 2D problems

and tetrahedrons and hexahedrons for 3D problems). All of the elements make up a mesh

which is an approximation of the problem. This method use mathematical equations to

predict the behavior of each element. A computer then adds up all the individual behaviors

to predict the behavior of the actual object.

Finite element analysis helps predict the behavior of products affected by many

physical effects, including[2]:

Mechanical stress

Mechanical vibration

Fatigue

Motion

Heat transfer

Fluid flow

The FEA share common procedure steps no matter how simple or how complex

the problem[1]:

Step 1: Evaluate the problem and make assumptions

Step 2: Describe how the finite elements will behave

Step 3 Build the finite element model

Step 4: Form element equations

Step 5: Assemble each element equation into s global problem equation

Step 6: Specify loads and boundary conditions

Step 7: Solve the global problem

Step 8: Evaluate the results.

NX Nastran

NX is a CAD software that allows you to work in objects, given them their geometry.

Nastran is a finite element solver from Siemens that helps to predict how the

structures will behave in a set environment.

The Nastran can be used in parallel processing, in this project was used the shared

memory processing.

3

Shared Memory Processing

Nowadays the volume and complexity of the analysis is going up, and the time

allocated to perform these tasks is under increasing pressure. In order to perform these

analysis is used the parallel computing. It is an approach that uses multiple computers or

processors working together on a common task. Each processor works on a part of the

problem and exchanges information with other processors.

The benefits of using parallel processing are:

Reduce solution time on large problems.

Decreased turnaround time for each solution; allowing to perform varies

analyses more designs under more conditions in a shorter amount of time.

In this research was used the Indiana Tech supercomputer (Godzilla) 12-core

workstation. The Figure 1 illustrate the Godzilla architecture.

A SMP machine is defined as a single machine with multiple processors that share

a common memory and input/output. Multiple processors can operate independently, but

changes in a memory location affected by one processor are visible to all other

processors. The primary disadvantage is the lack of scalability between memory and

processors[3].

To request a SMP job in NX Nastran is necessary to use the command parallel=p

(where p is the number of CPU used by NX Nastran to solve the modeling).

4

Methods and Results

First was designed a model in the NX (Figure 2)

Figure 2. Model

After the model was finished, then was created a FEM file and applied tetrahedral

3D mesh. And the boundaries conditions were applied (Figure 3).

5

And then the model was solved, the Figure 4 shows the nodal displacement.

The Table 1 shows the data collected. Varying the number of processor working

in the solution and the time took to finish the task.

Number of

Time

cores

1 0:57:23

2 0:33:22

4 0:22:18

8 0:16:57

12 0:16:23

Table 1. Data

The Figure 5 shows how the speed of the solution behave while change the

number of CPU.

6

4

3.5

3

Solution speed up 2.5

1.5

0.5

0

1 2 4 8 12

Number of CPU

In the figure above is observed that the increase of number of CPU do not is linear.

The graph behave as a logarithmic function. Doubling the number of CPU does not mean

the solution will take half of the time, as shown in the figure.

The time took when was used a number of 8 CPU is pretty close when was used

the maximum number of CPU, 12 CPU. The difference is just 34 seconds.

Conclusion

Complex models with great number of elements are becoming the norm today. As

analysis models continue to grow in terms of size and complexity, solver performance

becomes a critical factor. Using multiple processors in parallel can significantly reduce

solution run times compared to the more traditional serial solution that uses one

processor. Improving the companys ability to produce results in time to impact key design

decisions.

Increasing the number of processor the speedup will not be algebraic the same

magnitude. It is not a linear function.

Future Work

I recommend to those who will do a similar search to compare the results in this

projects with other computer.

Build a Distributed Memory Process (Figure 6) network to compare with the SMP

technology used in this project.

7

Figure 6. DMP Architecture

Distributed memory process (DMP) can achieve much higher levels of scalability

compared to shared memory processing (SMP)

References

[1] Mac Donald, Bryan J (2011). Practical Stress Analysis with Finite Elements. 2nd ed. USA:

Glasnevin Publishing. 386.

<http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/item?siteID=123112&id=17670721>. Last accessed 9th

Aug 2014.

[3] Siemens (2011). NX Nastran 8 Parallel Processing Guide. USA: Siemens Product Lifecycle

Management Software Inc. 73.

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