Supercomputer drives AT&T Williams F1 team

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Supercomputer drives AT&T Williams F1 team

Lenovo helps give an aerodynamic edge. The AT &T Williams F1 Team is to get a boost thanks to a new supercomputer from Lenovo designed to optimise the aerodynamics of the team's Formula 1 cars.

"The design of Formula 1 cars is a subtle combination of art and engineering, and aerodynamics plays a critical role in determining how competitive we are for each race," said Alex Burns, chief operating officer at AT&T Williams.

"The optimum balance of downforce and drag varies between different circuits, so the aerodynamics at Monaco - lots of tight corners with few straights - are very different from Monza, which has few corners but lots of long straights."

The Lenovo supercomputer is being used for operations in aerodynamics and computational fluid dynamics, performing billions of calculations that simulate airflow around a virtual model of a 3D on-track racing car.

The new cluster-based supercomputer packs in 664 computational cores, offering a peak performance of eight teraflops, making it four times more powerful than the team's previous system.

This will enable AT&T Williams to speed up the process of aerodynamic simulation by approximately 75 percent.

A total of 120 sensors monitor every aspect of the car and the driver's performance, meaning that the team has to process the more than 7TB of data during a race season.

"Aerodynamics has been steadily gaining importance in recent years, accounting for roughly three quarters of the performance of a Formula 1 car today," said Burns.

The team uses the supercomputer to examine aerodynamic variables, such as surface geometry, wheel turbulence and track surface.

The aerodynamic simulations are being conducted in combination with experimental techniques in the team's two wind tunnels.

Computer-generated tests will enable the team to focus resources on building the most promising solutions for testing in the wind tunnel and on the track.

Lenovo announced its support as an official partner of AT&T Williams at the beginning of the 2007 race season, and this agreement serves as an extension of the relationship.

Although Lenovo has a foothold in the supercomputing arena in China, the company was quick to point out that it currently has no plans to expand its presence in the market worldwide.
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