In this Issue:
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In this special edition of Benchmark, we cast a reflective gaze on the evolution of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) over the last 100 years and try to imagine what the future might hold for the discipline. In truth, the foundations are much older than a hundred years. They stretch back to Isaac Newton in the 17th century and George Gabriel Stokes in the 19thcentury, and that’s mentioning only a few of the many eminent mathematicians, engineers, and scientists who have contributed to the making of what we today call CFD.
Of course, we cannot talk about CFD in the modern era without talking about Lewis Fry Richardson and his seminal work ‘Weather Prediction by Numerical Process’. Published 100 years ago, in 1922, Lewis Fry Richardson’s work laid the foundations of the modern weather forecast. Lewis Fry Richardson was a fascinating character: a Quaker and a pacifists, in 1916 during the first world war, he joined an ambulance unit on the Western Front. Undeterred by the fighting around him, he undertook his calculations from muddy trenches and cold, wet billets in his spare time. At one point he decided to attempt to numerically ‘hindcast’ the weather for an area of western Europe using the published weather data for that particular date. His now famous work soon demonstrated the enormity of the task, and he realised that he would need thousands of computers (people!) to calculate the one-day weather forecast.
In this issue, Peter Lynch’s article reviews Lewis Fry Richardson’s work in much more detail and shows (with the benefit of a certain amount of hindsight) how good Lewis Fry Richardson’s predictions were.
To illustrate the evolution of CFD during the last century, we have constructed a timeline using forward and backward referencing from various reviews to develop a chronology for the publication dates of key papers. In fact, there are several strands to the timeline representing the contributions from physical/fluid-dynamic, mathematical, numerical/ computational, algorithmic, and technological (computer) developments.
The development of CFD has been a truly evolutionary process with many, many contributors and developments on different fronts, it is virtually impossible to recognise all of them in a single magazine issue. Necessarily, ours is a somewhat personalised view of the history of CFD and its continue devolution.
To help develop a more rounded picture of CFD, we have engaged with several of NAFEMS’ commercial and academic partners and collaborators to find out their thoughts on the current CFD challenges and how CFD might evolve in the coming decades. Their collected views form the basis of two further articles. Our commercial contributors include, amongst others, Siemens, Simulia, and Flow Science. And we have Professors Uwe Janoske (Bergische Universität Wuppertal), Nikos Markatos (National Technical University of Athens), Koulis Pericleous (University of Greenwich), and Spencer Sherwin (Imperial College) to give us the academic angle. And finally, we have illustrated the magazine with several panels of real CFD cases that demonstrate its importance in the modern world. We hope you enjoy this special edition of Benchmark.
David Kelsall, Steve Howell, Uwe Janoske & David Quinn
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