Parallel processing has long been a promising path to significant speed increases in computer simulations. Recent technological developments make parallel processing a practical reality on personal computers running Windows:
* The ability to address effectively unlimited memory in Windows XP64 and Vista64.
* The growing prevalence of dual-core and quad-core machines.
Field Precision has the goal of supporting automatic parallel processing in the 64-bit versions of all of our software packages by mid-2010. Because the programs are written in FORTRAN 95 with careful optimization, the serial versions already achieve impressive speed. The clean code organization makes parallelization straightforward and effective. With parallel processing, we expect speed amplification close to 2X for a dual-core machine and 4X for a quad-core machine.
We recently created a parallel version of Aether, our 3D time and frequency-domain electromagnetic code. The unified finite-element package handles all stages of a solution: mesh generation, field calculation and interactive analysis. Time-domain calculations are appropriate for pulsed-power devices, electromagnetic interference from transient events and the diffusion of magnetic fields into conductive structures. In the frequency domain, Aether handles both closed and open structures. Closed system tasks include searches for resonant frequencies, generation of mode field distributions and calculation of $Q$ factors. Open-system solutions include antenna simulation and the determination of S parameters for microwave networks.
We performed benchmark tests with unmodified examples from the Aether application library. In a resonant-mode search, the standard serial version of the program completed the task in 255 seconds. On the average, the task used one processor of a dual-Xeon system. The parallel version used 100% of the system capability and completed the task in 142 seconds. The run time was 56% of the serial-program time, close to the ideal.
The parallel version of Aether will be released for general distribution on Feb 1, 2010. All purchasers of the serial version will receive a free update.
About Field Precision
Field Precision LLC has created easy-to-use 2D and 3D simulation software for personal computers since 1989. Application areas include electrostatics, permanent magnets, charged-particle devices, microwave equipment, biomedical engineering and X-ray technology. The company is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Our educational texts on charged particle physics and technology are in use by over 20,000 students and researchers. For detailed information (customer lists, research projects and publications), please see
Field Precision LLC
Dr. Stanley Humphries