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Computing and combustionComing into the Combustion Branch of the Turbomachinery and Propulsion Systems Division, there was not any set project planned out for me to work on. This was understandable, considering I am only at my sophmore year in college. Also, my mentor was a division chief and it was expected that I would be passed down the line. It took about a week for me to be placed with somebody who could use me. My first project was to write a macro for TecPlot. Commonly, a person would have a 3D contour volume modeling something such as a combustion engine. This 3D volume needed to have slices extracted from it and made into 2D scientific plots with all of the appropriate axis and titles. This was very tedious to do by hand. My macro needed to automate the process. There was some education I needed before I could start, however. First, TecPlot ran on Unix and Linux, like a growing majority of scientific applications. I knew a little about Linux, but I would need to know more to use the software at hand. I took two classes at the Learning Center on Unix and am now comfortable with Linux and Unix. I already had taken Computer Science I and II, and had undergone the transformation from Computer Programmer to Procedural Epistemologist. I knew how to design efficient algorithms, I just needed to learn the macro language. After a little less than a week, I had learned the basics of the language. Like most languages, the best way to learn more of it was by using it. It was decided that it was best that I do the macro in layers, starting simple and adding features as I went. The macro started out slicing with respect to only one axis, and did not make 2D plots out of the slices. Instead, it lined them up inside the solid. Next, I allowed for more than one axis and placed each slice in a separate frame. After this, I added code that transformed each individual slice-frame into a scientific plot. I also made frames for composite volumes, which showed all of the slices in the same XYZ space. I then designed an addition companion macro that exported each frame into its own image file. I then distributed the macros to a test group, and am awaiting feedback. In the meantime, a am researching the possible applications of distributed computing on the National Combustor Code. Many of our Linux boxes were idle for most of the day. The department thinks that it would be wonderful if we could get all of these idle processors to work on a problem under the NCC code. The client software would have to be easily distributed, such as in screensaver format or as a program that only ran when the computer was not in use. This project proves to be an interesting challenge.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Document Type
Thompson, Daniel
(Wesleyan Univ. Middletown, CT, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Research Symposium I
Subject Category
Computer Programming And Software
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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