National Computational Infrastructure

NCI

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Deep-water ocean modelling for industry

NCI is providing high-performance computational services to global not-for-profit engineering organisation DHI Water and Environment Pty Ltd.

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“We specialise in engineering involving water,” explains DHI’s Head of Marine, Simon Brandi Mortensen.

“Everything from coastal and marine water, like waves and ocean circulation, to ports and ships, and flooding risk and industrial water management.”

The company, which celebrated 50 years in 2014, sought out NCI’s services in early 2015 following a recommendation by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

“We are using Raijin to calculate in great detail how waves and currents around the north-west of Australia are behaving, both in normal conditions and in response to cyclones,” explains Mr Brandi Mortensen.

The work is of particular interest to oil and gas companies, which require a thorough understanding of ocean currents to inform design of deep-water infrastructure such as oil rigs, pipelines and moored ships.

“Oil and gas companies want to know what sort of currents they can expect in different parts of Australian waters so they can ensure their infrastructure can withstand a 1-in-10,000-year-chance natural disaster like a major cyclone,” explains Mr Brandi Mortensen.

“The challenge is that in order to predict a 10,000-year event you need to describe the predicted cyclone climate over 10,000 years. That requires simulating thousands of storms and taking into account all the variables.

“The processes involved in each cyclone simulation are so complex that you need to use very fine resolution 3D models solving very complex mathematical equations.

“The only way you can feasibly do this is by using a HPC facility where you can run hundreds if not thousands of storm simulations at the same time and thereby deliver results in a matter of a few weeks instead of months.”

Mr Brandi Mortensen says the decision to move to NCI was driven by the need to encompass growth in DHI’s research.

“We needed to think ahead in terms of the magnitude of our simulations – how many storms we needed to run,” he says.

“NCI provides access to 57,000 cores all under one roof, an environment which is unparalleled in Australia.

“We are very happy to be working with NCI and we look forward to working together to move our science in a good direction.”

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