Special contribution numerical wind tunnel: History and evolution of supercomputing

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The concept and historical background of the numerical wind tunnel deployed at the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL) is discussed. A numerical wind tunnel is used to investigate aerodynamic characteristics and flow phenomena of the air surrounding aircraft or spacecraft. It was first conceived in the 1980s, and thus has existed for about 30 years. Hajime Miyoshi and Susumu Takanashi of NAL are attributed with being the first engineers who revealed the concept of a numerical wind tunnel to the public. In 1987, NAL introduced Fujitsu’s vector supercomputer FACOM VP400 with a processing capacity of 1.1 GFLOPS. The system as a whole was called the numerical simulator (NS1). In 1993, NAL introduced a supercomputer-aided numerical wind tunnel as a core system of the second generation numerical simulator (NS2). CFD (computational fluid dynamics) and other numerical analysis methods have also made progress side by side increasing the strength of NS. One day, numerical analysis will surpass wind tunnel testing in data productivity. We need to keep the numerical analysis under constant check regarding its reliability and quantativeness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
JournalFujitsu Scientific and Technical Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

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