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Science Museum: Computing

While on a recent visit to London I spent an enjoyable afternoon at the Science Museum. What I found was more sustenance for my computing-fluids obsession. In fact I came across enough fascinating exhibits to fill several blog posts. I'll kick off with a computing-themed post, first covering computing prehistory starting with the Babbage Difference Engines and the Phillips Hydraulic Computer, and moving on to the dawn of supercomputing with the Cray-1.

Formula 1 Diffuser Controversy

The ongoing Formula 1 (F1) diffuser controversy has raised the awareness in the general public (especially in F1-mad countries, such as the UK) of a key aerodynamic device used in many forms of motor racing. And if one diffuser is good then two must be better, right? So goes the latest thinking in F1.

April Fools: Hotelicopter

I couldn't come up with an aerodynamic themed April Fools' joke this year, but even if I had, I'm certain it wouldn't have fared well against the Hotelicopter.

Aerodynamic Golf Clubs

Aerodynamic considerations in golf ball design are nothing new, but the other golfing implement, the club, has resisted aerodynamic optimization until now. A new generation of golf drivers is now sporting streamlined, aerodynamic profiles in order to improve driving distances due to reduced club-head drag.

Cape Wind: Engineering is the Easy Part

You'd think that siting and constructing an offshore wind farm would be all about engineering and financial challenges, but you'd be wrong, at least in the case of the proposed Cape Wind wind farm in the waters off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Cape Wind is a US$900 million project that aims to construct and run 130 horizontal-axis wind turbines to generate 468 (at peak) megawatts on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound.

Creative Destruction

The economist Joseph Schmumpter popularized the idea of Creative Destruction, which states that the rise and fall of companies is an integral part of long-term economic growth. You'll find a similar theme in The Innovator's Dilemma. Given the current economic crisis we've seen a lot of companies in near freefall. There's the fall, where's the rise?

The End of Clusters?

Are we approaching the end of cluster computing for Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) analysis tools such as Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)? Or is it simply the end of the beginning of an era to be further dominated by clusters?

Product Design and Computer-Aided Engineering Analysis Tools

Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) analysis tools, such as Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), have become an integral part of product design for many industries. The early adopters (and initial developers) of such tools were the aerospace and automotive industries. These industries were quick to notice the promise of CAE analysis tools to reduce the need for expensive physical modeling and prototypes. And where the aerospace and automotive industries led, many others have followed.

Engineering the Bloodhound SSC

The British speed team, led by Richard Noble, that brought us the Thrust SSC (SuperSonic Car) and captured the world land speed record of 763 mph (1,228 km/h or Mach 1) in 1997 is out to go even faster with their new car, called Bloodhound SSC. Their objective is to raise the record to 1,000 mph (1,609 km/h or Mach 1.31), a 31% improvement over their previous mark.

The Complexity and Beauty of Fluid Dynamics

Do you ever take a moment to marvel at the inherent complexity and beauty of fluid flow? You don't have to go far, just look around. From the drip of a tap to the contrails left in the sky chasing a jetliner - it's easy to take for granted.

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