Software of the Year

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2004 Award Co-Winners

Award Title:

Tetrahedral Unstructured Software System (TetrUSS) 2004

Lead NASA Center:

Langley Research Center (LaRC)

Case Number:

LAR-16882-1

Summary:

First evaluated in 1996, this a suite of computational programs used for fluid dynamics and aerodynamics analysis has been updated to include:
  1. Viscous Grid / Navier-Stokes capability, which makes TetrUSS a predictive, not a reactive, tool for aviation and exploration.
  2. Expansion to other hardware platforms, using the OpenGL standard, allowing TetrUSS to be used on the Mac OSX and PC Linux platforms rather than just the SGI/Irix solution previously implemented.
  3. Advanced turbulence models, adding capability to the USM3D flow solver for simulating complex aerodynamic configurations with propulsion integration using two-equation turbulence models. The overhead of using these models is less than 5% of the total computer time and 1% of memory. As accurate unstructured-grid CFD methods become available for complex aerodynamic applications, the design and analysis time of complex configurations will be dramatically decreased when compared with structured-grid generation.
  4. Parallel version of USM3D flow solver, which allows virtual linear scalability for problem solving with up to 250 processors reducing processing time by nearly 250-fold.
  5. Advances in grid generation, wherein an adaptive grid refinement method was developed and successfully applied to several 3D problems. The method is based on automatic local grid refinement. As the flow solution proceeds, areas in the computational domain which require more accuracy are identified. The grid is then automatically refined in these areas, and a new solution is obtained. The process continues until a predetermined objective (usually an accuracy level) is achieved. This is the first time an adaptive unstructured grid was implemented for viscous flow modelling.
  6. Increased use of TetrUSS in critical NASA, government, and industry programs. TetrUSS is now in use at over 500 sites for all classes of aerospace and industrial fluid flow applications, inside and out of NASA, worth many billions of dollars.

Simulation performed using TetrUSS 2004 for advanced commercial transport concept

Above: Simulation performed using TetrUSS 2004 for advanced commercial transport concept.




Award Title:

The Science Activity Planner

Lead NASA Center:

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Case Number:

NPO-41028-1

Summary:

The Science Activity Planner (SAP) combines cutting-edge visualization with sophisticated planning and simulation capabilities to provide an intuitive interface to Mars rovers and landers. It is a multi-mission, multi-purpose tool that has achieved three simultaneous successes in mission operations, public outreach, and technology development. Answers to questions in this form will address each of these areas in turn.

SAP comes in two versions. The first is used in mission operations and contains the official mission activity dictionary. The second version was released under the name Maestro to the public for education and outreach. Maestro includes additional training features that make it a more effective tool for public engagement.

SAP is used heavily in the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Mission on a daily basis. Scientists on the MER mission depend on SAP as their primary interface to the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. Every day, mission scientists and engineers use SAP to plan the next actions of the rovers and analyze the data arriving from Mars. SAP is a Class-A, mission-critical part of the rovers' operations subsystem and is a vital part of mission operations. At the time this application was written, SAP had completed over 250 sols of successful mission operations of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers without a single critical failure and will continue to serve this role until the end of the mission.

This is a logical extension of the tool known as WITS, which won acclaim in the 1998 Software of the Year competition.

Science Activity Planner screen shot on Mars Exploration Rover mission

Above: Science Activity Planner screen shot on Mars Exploration Rover mission.