In Year 3 of CFD Direct, we developed new functionality in OpenFOAM and maintained critical components of the code base, reducing the number of unresolved issues by 45%. We managed the OpenFOAM Foundation: promoting sustainable development, releasing OpenFOAM v5, packaging OpenFOAM-dev and publishing websites and documentation. We delivered 60 days of OpenFOAM Training, introducing our new “hybrid” classroom-virtual courses to host participants in person and remotely. We launched the new Cloud CFD course to teach inexpensive, secure, efficient CFD with CFD Direct From the Cloud™.
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CFD Direct announces the release of their new 1 day Cloud CFD course, the fourth course in their portfolio of OpenFOAM Training. The course enables users to run CFD with OpenFOAM on AWS, training the tools and processes for inexpensive, secure, efficient cloud use. The course addresses the main concerns of using public cloud: cost management, security, efficient CFD and data management. It exploits the cost benefits of cloud: meeting fluctuating demand for hardware at a cost that represents consistent, high utilitisation; and using cheaper, spare capacity, with an application that does not require 100% availability.
OpenFOAM is free, open source software for computational fluid dynamics (CFD). At the heart of OpenFOAM is a development kit (“SDK”), providing software and tools to build CFD applications, enabling users to customise their CFD, quickly and conveniently. CFD Direct includes OpenFOAM developers who maintain the SDK. We manage an environment for sustainable OpenFOAM development that involves: early public code release with rapid-turnaround user feedback; a network of developers, funding companies and users; and, co-ordinated code integration and maintenance.
OpenFOAM provides leading CFD software to thousands of people within academia and industry for free. However, CFD is inherently complex and competency in CFD requires more than simply “learning the software package”. Our 3 × 2 day OpenFOAM Training courses build CFD competency through a process of solution design with course prices equivalent to 1-2 weeks of payroll cost of a CFD engineer or 2% of a single core, commercial CFD licence. Our schedule includes classroom courses in UK, Germany and USA, with Live Virtual attendance worldwide, and on-site training for groups of 5 or more.
In Autumn 2017, CFD Direct are running their OpenFOAM Training courses — Essential CFD, Applied CFD and Programming CFD — fully updated with the latest features of the new version 5 release of OpenFOAM. Essential and Applied CFD courses are available: 25-28 Sep, London UK, and 16-19 Oct, Chicago USA with limited places via the Internet; 6-9 November, Munich Germany. Programming CFD is available 12-13 Sep and 3-4 Oct as Virtual Training. We use new features in OpenFOAM v5 to give our participants the confidence to carry out CFD analysis, repeatedly, to a defined standard in a timely manner.
CFD Direct From the Cloud (CFDDFC) is our established platform for running OpenFOAM, ParaView and supporting software using cloud computing. We are pleased to announce the release of our CFDDFC command line interface (CLI) for quick, simple, deployment of OpenFOAM CFD workloads with CFDDFC on Amazon EC2. The CLI is a simple shell script named “cfddfc” that users can follow a few short short steps to get running. It uses EC2 Spot Instances by default, and provides cost estimates for data transfer to help users run workloads at lowest cost.
In May 2017, we implemented water wave modelling into the public, development line of OpenFOAM (OpenFOAM-dev), to simulate flow conditions experienced in marine and offshore engineering, e.g. on a ship in open water. The initial implementation includes the first order Airy wave and the second order Stokes wave (Stokes II), a second-order accurate utility to apply waves for case initialisation to the entire domain. A verticalDamping source (fvOption) provides wave damping towards outlet regions and an interfaceHeight function object processes interface elevation at specified locations.
In April 2017, we added barycentric tracking into the public, development line of OpenFOAM (OpenFOAM-dev), as a complete replacement to the tracking algorithm that existed in OpenFOAM for over 10 years. Barycentric tracking works on any decomposed tet mesh, irrespective of mesh quality, including poor quality, flat and inverted tetrahedra. The new development was funded from the €100 k for OpenFOAM maintenance, raised through the OpenFOAM Foundation in 2017, in which “particles and tracking” was identified as an area in OpenFOAM “requiring significant code refactoring and/or rewriting”.
At the end of Year 2 of CFD Direct, we summarise our principal activities as the primary contributor to OpenFOAM. We developed new functionality, producing OpenFOAM v4.0 and v4.1, maintaining the OpenFOAM code base, documentation, websites and other infrastructure — where we contributed 1300 man-hours of work in-kind. We delivered 55 days of OpenFOAM Training — Essential, Applied and Programming CFD — as scheduled classroom courses, live virtual training and on-site. We released new versions of our cloud CFD platform, CFD Direct From the Cloud (CFDDFC), and became and Advanced Technology Partner of Amazon Web Services.
During Year 2, CFD Direct made over 1000 code commits to the public development line of OpenFOAM, making us by far the largest contributor of code to OpenFOAM. We produced the major new version 4.0 release of OpenFOAM and the minor update version 4.1 release. We transformed OpenFOAM-dev into stable software of “always-releasable” quality and package it weekly for Ubuntu. Ubuntu packs can now be installed directly on Windows 10 and we also provide “containerized” versions, hosted on Docker Hub, accompanied by launch scripts for easy installation of OpenFOAM on Linux and macOS.
In Year 2, CFD Direct handled almost 500 issues on the OpenFOAM issue tracking system. We upgraded the system and and analyzed metrics relating to timely resolution of issues which concluded that current unresolved issues relate to badly designed components of OpenFOAM that require significant code rewriting. To fund that repair work and ongoing maintenance, we ran a successful campaign to raise €100 k from companies that benefit from OpenFOAM. We carried out substantial maintenance to OpenFOAM websites, significant updates to documentation, and administration for the OpenFOAM Foundation.
In Year 2, CFD Direct delivered 55 days of OpenFOAM Training with its 3 × 2 day courses, Essential CFD, Applied CFD and Programming CFD. Training was delivered as: scheduled Classroom Training in London, Berlin, Munich, Houston, Chicago and Beijing; live Virtual Training; and, customer On-Site Training. We launched our Programming CFD course, containing modules in C++ programming applied to popular examples in OpenFOAM. We successfully ran live Virtual Training courses with participants from a wide geographical area. And we updated Training for OpenFOAM v4, that included our changes to make OpenFOAM easier to use.
In Year 2, CFD Direct updated its OpenFOAM cloud computing platform — CFD Direct From the Cloud (CFDDFC) — to OpenFOAM 4.1, running on Ubuntu 16.04. Feedback from users was very positive, including a 5-star rating on the CFDDFC Marketplace Product page at at Amazon Web Services (AWS). We became an Advanced Technology Partner of AWS, and produced a case study on the cost of CFD on AWS EC2 that concluded, in particular, that the cost of Spot instances was approximately 40% of the total cost of ownership of on-premises hardware. We made CFDDFC available on AWS X1 instance types, running simulations on 32 and 64 physical cores in a single instance.
The OpenFOAM User Guide provides an introduction to OpenFOAM, through some basic tutorials, and some details about the general operation of OpenFOAM. OpenFOAM is a collection of approximately 250 applications built upon a collection of over 100 software libraries (modules). Each application performs a specific task, e.g the snappyHexMesh application can generate meshes for complex geometry, such as a vehicle. The simpleFoam application could then be used to simulate steady-state, turbulent, incompressible flow around the vehicle…
OpenFOAM is free, open source software in computational fluid dynamics for real-world engineering and scientific applications. CFD Direct is committed to maintain OpenFOAM, demonstrated by the thousands of code commits to OpenFOAM-dev, with support from contributors. Maintenance concerns the evolution of software in response to changes in user expectation and environment. We have introduced an agile strategy suitable to the feedback process of software evolution and have identified key areas of OpenFOAM that requiring significant redesign, e.g. AMI and particles.
Cloud computing replaces large upfront expenses with low, variable payments that only apply to what you use. CFD simulations cover a range of sizes and complexity. Activity is generally interrupted by quiet periods when simulations are halted, e.g. when a simulation ends non-working hours, during analysis of results or preparation of a new simulation, etc. The fluctuating demand makes CFD well suited to a pay-per-use model. Users need to understand the costs involved to get the best value from cloud and be confident that they fall within budget. This article explains the costs, with an example of an external aerodynamics calculation with OpenFOAM using CFD Direct From the Cloud™ (CFDDFC) on Amazon Web Services (AWS).
A breakdown of outstanding issues in OpenFOAM (2016-10-26) shows 90% of unresolved issues falling within only 7 categories. The two worst offenders account for almost half of all unresolved issues: 1) AMI, ACMI and cyclic interfaces; and, 2) heat transfer, including conjugate heat transfer (CHT). These categories, and “particles and tracking” and “sources/constraints” in particular, require significant refactoring and/or rewriting. Their current state of disrepair was caused by poor funding under a roadmap development strategy. Funding of agile development of OpenFOAM is now needed to support our aim to improve quality, with a target 50% reduction in unresolved issues in 2017.
Agile development of OpenFOAM emerged following the public distribution of the development line in December 2014. It relies on user participation, which is encouraged by rewarding users for reporting issues with timely resolution. OpenFOAM was in poor health at version 2.3.0, with unresolved issues increasing rapidly and long resolution times. Following the move to agile development, unresolved issues are reduced and under control, with ~70% of issues resolved in 1 day and ~90% resolved in 1 week, taking OpenFOAM to a new level of quality and maturity (always releasable) by version 4.0.
The OpenFOAM Issue Tracking system exists to enable users to report issues. An issue exists when OpenFOAM behaves in a manner that does not meet reasonable expectations, including in design and usability. OpenFOAM is mature, quality software, whose successful development demands that issues are resolved in a timely manner. Roadmap development obstructs issue resolution, resulting in unreliable software and inefficient development. Instead, free, open source software can exploit agile development with frequent code release, as the best strategy for CFD development. Users should adopt continuous upgrade to minimize cost and to benefit the agile development strategy.
In 2017, CFD Direct are running sessions of their OpenFOAM Training courses — Essential CFD, Applied CFD and Programming CFD — fully updated with the latest features of the new version 4 release of OpenFOAM: 24-27 April 2017, Berlin Germany; 16-18 May, Virtual Asia-Pacific; 20-21 June, 26-27 June, Virtual Americas; 4-5 July, London UK; 12-13 Sept, Virtual Americas; 25-28 Sept, London UK; 16-19 October, Chicago USA. OpenFOAM v4 contains new functionality we introduced in OpenFOAM v4 to improve usability so our course participants spend less time struggling with quirks of the software, leaving more time to build and practice their CFD skills.
OpenFOAM version 4.0 is the latest major version of OpenFOAM, released on 28th June 2016. CFD Direct was by far the largest contributor to OpenFOAM 4.0, contributing the vast majority of new functionality including post-processing, numerous boundary conditions and physical models. Additionally, we contributed across all other aspects of software engineering that make OpenFOAM a mature, modern environment for CFD. This article provides the inside view of that work on the software engineering behind OpenFOAM 4.0, contributed largely during a 3 month period from April-July, 2016.
CFD Direct are pleased to announce a 4 day OpenFOAM Training Course in Beijing, China, 22-25 August 2016. The course involves demonstration of tasks from a range of scientific disciplines and industries from course modules of both the Essential CFD and Applied CFD courses. The instructor will be Chris Greenshields, co-founder of OpenFOAM, Director of CFD Direct & The OpenFOAM Foundation. The training will be in English, with assistance in Chinese translation from Dongyue Li, Beijing University of Chemical Technology.
On 25th March 2015, CFD Direct was launched by Henry Weller (creator of OpenFOAM), Chris Greenshields, and Jenya Collings. At the end of our first year, we summarise our principal activities as the primary contributor to OpenFOAM, producing 3 releases of OpenFOAM, maintaining the OpenFOAM code base, managing the OpenFOAM Foundation, creating a free documentation resource and engaging with the community. We launched 3 training courses — Essential, Applied and Programming CFD — which we deliver as scheduled classroom courses, live virtual training and on-site. We launched CFD Direct From the Cloud (CFDDFC), a complete CFD cloud computing platform using Amazon Web Services EC2.
During our first year, we made over 900 code commits to the to the public development line of OpenFOAM, making us by far the largest contributor of code to OpenFOAM. In 2015, we produced one major, one minor and one patch release of OpenFOAM. We carried out maintenance on OpenFOAM, reducing the number of outstanding issues by approximately 35%, involving over 500 commits to the bug fix line of OpenFOAM 3.0. We managed the OpenFOAM Foundation, established a free OpenFOAM documentation resource, and our posts on social media updated users about developments to OpenFOAM , which encouraged a strong community to support and contribute to OpenFOAM as free software.
In April 2015, we launched 2 × 2 day courses, Essential CFD and Applied CFD, which were delivered as scheduled classroom training courses in Berlin, Houston, London, Chicago and Munich. In early 2016 we launched our 2 day course, Programming CFD, which we are delivering initially as Live Virtual Training. Our 3 OpenFOAM Training courses, aimed at competency in CFD, are now run as scheduled classroom courses, live virtual training and on-site training. We believe our comprehensive, modern programme is the best OpenFOAM training, using only free, open source software, for a one-time investment in staff skills without recurring licence fees.
In 2015, we launched CFD Direct From the Cloud (CFDDFC), a complete OpenFOAM cloud computing platform that includes the latest version of OpenFOAM and supporting software running on Ubuntu. The platform provides OpenFOAM in its native Linux OS, which users can access directly from a terminal or via a remote desktop. CFDDFC is available for Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a product on AWS Marketplace, pre-configured for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). CFDDFC is in constant use, on a range of EC2 Instances ranging from the small instance, eligible for Free Tier, to the Compute Optimized instances including the largest with 36 virtual (18 physical) CPUs, and with multiple instances networked as a cluster for larger workloads.
OpenFOAM is free software, meaning users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. Users benefit from these freedoms, which account for much of OpenFOAM’s popularity. The OpenFOAM Foundation is the copyright holder of OpenFOAM, which it licenses exclusively under the GPL. It maintains a strong legal position to enforce the licence and preserve its freedoms, by being the single owner of OpenFOAM. This requires contributors to the project to assign copyright in their OpenFOAM contributions to it, through its Contributor Agreement. Organisations with a serious commitment to free software are signing the Agreement, including CFD Direct, blueCAPE, VTT Technical Research of Finland Ltd and Intel.
CFD Direct announces the release of Programming CFD, their new OpenFOAM Training course. The OpenFOAM programming course has been created by Chris Greenshields (OpenFOAM co-founder) and Henry Weller (OpenFOAM creator/architect). The course is 2 days duration and is initially available as Virtual Training in Europe and Americas time zones, with Chris Greenshields as instructor: 12-13 April 2016 – Europe; 19-20 April 2016 – Americas. The course teaches coding to OpenFOAM’s quality standards with tools to encourage good practice, developing code in small, digestible steps with periods of reflection to introduce new concepts.
In January-March 2016, CFD Direct are running sessions of their OpenFOAM Training courses — Essential CFD and Applied CFD — fully updated with the latest features of the new version 3.0 release of OpenFOAM: 25-28 January 2016, London UK; 22-25 February 2016, Houston USA; 7-10 March 2016, Berlin Germany. OpenFOAM v3.0 contains new functionality we introduced in OpenFOAM v3.0 to improve usability so our course participants spend less time struggling with quirks of the software, leaving more time to build and practice their CFD skills.
Anyone investing in OpenFOAM Training must want training that delivers the best return on their investment. It can be difficult to choose the best OpenFOAM training from the variety of disparate training offerings in a market that is particularly open due to the open source nature of the software. Questions should be asked of potential training providers to establish their credibility and experience in OpenFOAM and in CFD training. In this article we present 10 questions that might usefully be asked and present CFD Direct’s answers to the questions.