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The KIVA Story a Paradigm of Technology Transfer

The KIVA Story a Paradigm of Technology Transfer

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190
IEEE TRANSACITONS
ON
PROFESSIONAL
COMMUNICATION,
VOL.
36,
NO.
4,
DECEMBER
1993
The
KIVA
Story:
A
Paradigm
of
Technology Transfer
Dorothy Comer Amsden and Anthony
A.
Amsden
Abstract-
This paper discusses a case history of technologytransfer from a government laboratory to industry, to otherlaboratories, and to universities. The technology transferred isa computer program named
KIVA
that simulates air flow, fuelsprays, and combustion in practical combustion devices such
as
automobile and truck engines, gas turbines that power jetaircraft, and industrial furnaces, heaters, and waste incinerators.The success
of
the transfer process derives not from presentinga finished product, but rather from working closely with
KIVA
users
at every stage of development. By making the originalsource code available to a broad user community, a second avenueof transfer occurs as university engineering departments preparestudents to enter industry.
INTRODUCTION
OMBUSTION is a major process affecting our lives, and
C
t provides over 90% of our useful energy. Unfortunately,combustion is also the main source of environmental pollution.Improving combustion processes is therefore of paramountimportance for reducing both fuel consumption and emissions.The processes involved in combustion are extraordinarilycomplex, the parameters numerous. Designers of modemcombustion systems have come to realize that experimentalapproaches alone are simply too difficult and expensive to ac-count for the multitude of parameters involved that are neededto accurately predict the performance of combustion systems.Another approach was needed to supplement experimentation.Recent rapid advances in high-performance computing havemade it a viable alternative to empirical design. The advancesin computing power, coupled with improved numerical algo-rithms and advanced experimental diagnostic techniques, makeit possible to simulate complex combustion processes, and toverify the quality of the simulation experimentally where dataare available. The goal is to develop more efficient and cleaner-burning combustion devices that can be brought to marketquickly and at low development cost.In this context, the DOE funded a combustion researchprogram that led to the development of
WA,
a computerprogram that simulates air flow, fuel sprays, and combustion inpractical combustion devices. Over the past decade, a sequenceof three-dimensional simulation codes were developed at
Los
Alamos National Laboratory; originally they were intended formodeling flows in gasoline and diesel engines. These codesdraw on the computational fluid dynamics
(0)
xpertise at
Los
Alamos developed over the years for modeling high-speedflows that occur in detonation processes. KIVA' features theability to calculate air flows in complex geometries with fuel-spray dynamics and evaporation, mixing of fuel and air, andcombustion with resultant heat release and exhaust-productformation. Because of its broad range of features, KIVAhas been applied to many combustion devices in addition tointernal combustion engines, such as gas turbines, industrialfurnaces, heaters, and waste incinerators.In this paper we explore how
Los
Alamos became involvedwith the automotive industry, describe the origins and continu-ing evolution of KIVA, and discuss the process of transferringKIVA technology to a broad user community. We also discussreasons for the success of the program, some computationalrequirements, future directions, and the roles of the differentplayers, including that of the professional communicator, inthe technology transfer process.
ORIGINS
OF
KIVAThe origins of KIVA may be found in computational meth-ods still in common use for nuclear weapons design. In theearly 1970s, Dan Butler and a small team in the computationalfluid dynamics (CFD) group at
Los
Alamos National Labo-ratory developed a reactive fluid dynamics program to studyhydrogen-fluorine (HF) chemical laser systems, under contractto the
U.
S.
Air Force. Several years later, the nation founditself in the first energy crisis. In 1976 the National ScienceFoundation sponsored a meeting in which the participants wereasked to propose ways to make automotive engines morefuel-efficient and cleaner-burning.
An
invited participant atthis meeting, Butler realized that the program for modelingchemical lasers could be adapted to simulate reactive flows inan internal combustion engine. He came prepared with a movieof the modified HF program, which he showed at the meeting.It was evident that multi-dimensional CFD had been largelyoverlooked by industry as an analysis tool. Participants thoughtit had much promise.
Thus
began the affiliation between
Los
Alamos and the combustion research community.Under the auspices of the U.
S.
Energy Research and De-velopment Agency (ERDA), and its successor, the Departmentof Energy (DOE), four cooperative working groups emergedover the next several years, each with a different focus: direct-injection, stratified-charge (DISC) gasoline engines; dieselengines; fuel sprays; and homogeneous-charge engines. Eachgroup gathered representatives from industry, universities, and
The
word
kiva
is southwestern in origin; it is a Pueblo ceremonial chamberthat is usually round and set underground. It is entered
from
above by means ofa ladder through the roof.
The
analogy is made with a typical engine cylinder,in which the entrance and egress of gases is through valves set in the cylinderArticle received July, 1993; revised September, 1993.
The
authors
are
with the
Los
Alamos National Laboratory,
Los
Alamos,IEEE
Log
Number 9213893. head.NM
87544.
0162-8828/93$03.00
0
1993 IEEE
 
AMSDEN
AND
AMSDEN:
KIVA
STORY:PARADIGM
OF
TECHNOLOGY
TRANSFER
-
191
COMPUTATIONALLUIDDYNAMICS-A HISTORICAL ERSPEC~VEComputational fluid dynamics (CFD) is based on a set ofequations that were derived in 1827. The Navier-Stokesequations, as they are called, describe the space-timevariation of mass, momentum, and energy in fluid flow.Until the advent of supercomputers, their solution had to beaccomplished by sophisticated analytical techniques, whichprecluded the analysis of most of the complex scientific ancengineering problems encountered in today’s technology.CFD got its start in the 1950s as a tool for designingnuclear weapons. Early codes were not very sophisticated,but they allowed weapons designers to understand what wactaking place at the instant of nuclear fission and to designweapons that require a minimum amount of fissionablematerial. Eventually, codes were created to study other kind:
of
flow problems, involving turbulence, material strength,chemical heat release, magnetic fields, and heat transfer.The earliest CFD models calculated solutions for unsteadyflows with one-dimensional symmetry. As computersevolved, it became possible to calculate flows accurately intwo and then three dimensions. The push to solveincreasingly complex fluid flows stimulated the developmenof supercomputers.CFD plays an integral role in a number of scientific andtechnical fields, including nuclear energy, explosives,plasma physics, propulsion, space science and astronomy,oceanography, and streamlining. Today CFD is usedextensively to solve flow problems, such as designingengines, aircraft, printed circuit boards, ballistic devices,pumps, and ventilation systems; molding and pouring newmaterials; and studying the global climate, astrophysics,ground seepage of toxic wastes, and nuclear reactor safety.For more information on CFD applications in mechanicalengineering, see [lo].several DOE laboratories, and met semiannually. The workinggroup format and the diversity of its membership provided agood venue for cultural sharing, which enabled the universitiesand national laboratories to learn the needs of industry, andindustry to gain an appreciation of numerical modeling as anadjunct to experimentation.The role of the fluid dynamics group at
Los
Alamos wasto develop a major combustion simulation program, initiallyto be used exclusively by the working group participants.At the time, industry had neither the CFD expertise northe computing power necessary to justify undertaking such adevelopment, but both these requirements could be met by
Los
Alamos. With input from the automotive industry, the programevolved in several well-defined increments. Initially, there wasa two-dimensional program, called APACHE, that had fixedboundaries. Next, in CONCHAS, the capability of a movingboundary was added to represent the motion of a piston,which allowed an air-fuel mixture to be compressed. The thirdstage, CONCHAS-SPRAY, included
a
sophisticated fuel-spraymodel with evaporation. The fourth stage of the evolutionadded a full three-dimensional capability; this program becameKIVA.As we have seen, KIVA did not spring full-grown intoexistence. It evolved through a series of programs that wereconsidered innovative for their time. The initial version ofKIVA, written in 1981-82, was too slow, even on a Cray-
1
computer, to be of practical use for complex problems.Accordingly, the numerical solution algorithm was revisedand the implicit solution technique in use at the time wasreplaced with an explicit subcycling method. In an explicitmethod, the new-time value of a quantity such as pressure ortemperature is a function of surrounding old-time values, andmay be obtained directly. In an implicit method, the new-timevalue is a function of other new-time values, and in generalmust be obtained by means of an iteration.In addition, considerable effort was expended to tailor thecoding to work in a more optimal fashion on the Cray bytaking advantage of the vector capabilities of the machine.This meant rewriting much of the FORTRAN code to eliminate“if”-type decisions, instead using special vector constructs thatwould allow the computer to process data in chunks of
64
numbers at one time. This task required a significant amountof code development time in 1982, but the payoff was that thevectorized version of KIVA now ran nearly five times fasterthan before. With these major modifications, the program wasbeginning to run at a speed acceptable to potential users.KIVA was released for collaborator testing to GeneralMotors Research Laboratories in 1983. Shortly thereafterit was released to Cummins Engine Company, PrincetonUniversity, Purdue University, and Sandia National Laboratoryat Livermore. Feedback from this group of “friendly users”was necessary to improve the program to a level whereit could be considered for public release. The challengefacing the small KIVA team was two-fold:
to
demonstrate theusefulness
of
combustion modeling to a skeptical audience,and to continue improving the program.The first public release [l], [2] of KIVA was made in1985 through the National Energy Software Center
(NESC)
at Argonne National Laboratory, which served at the time asthe official distribution center for DOE-sponsored software.
THE
TRANSFER
PROCESSThe close working relationship between
Los
Alamos andindustry, as well as with other collaborative users of KIVA,was established at the outset and continues to this day. Theimportance
of
personal interaction is indispensable, becausethe true technology transfer of KIVA has taken place at thegrass roots level. Working group members communicate withthe KIVA team not just at the semiannual meetings, butregularly by phone, fax, mail, and e-mail. For many years theteam consisted of a programmer and two physicists. Recentlyit acquired another programmer and several physicists whowork on new applications.The communication process underlying technology transferis interactive
on
multiple levels (see Table
I).
Users work-
 
192 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION,
VOL.
36, NO.
4,
DECEMBER 1993
TABLE
I
AVENUES
F
CoMMUNlCATION
IN
TECH
TRANSFER
Level
of
Communication
Grass
roots Grass roots Grass rootsvisiting scientist sharing
of
expertise technical stafftelephone conversation questions about technical staffe-mailquestions and samples technical staff
fax
samples and problems technical staffmailrequesting technology technical staffProgammatic Progammatic Progammaticmeetingsdirections to take, management andproposals obtain funding managementprogress reports show progress tomanagementQpe
of
Communication People Involvedtechnologyexchange
of
data technical staff
snnnsnr
Formal Formal Formalreports, articles report majordevelopmentspresentations, poster share new developmentssessionsvu-graphs show details
of
workvideotapes explain work totechnical audience,
sponsors
explain work to generalpublicpress releasescontracts, licensing establish contracts,technical staff,management, technicaleditortechnical staff,management, technicalwritertechnical staff,management, graphicartisttechnical staff,management, technicalwriter, video specialisttechnical staff,management, publicaffairs staffmanagement, legal staff,licenses, agreements technical writers
ing directly with KIVA are in frequent contact with theprogrammer for issues involving code details and problemswith specific applications, and with the physicists for issuesconcerning the underlying theory. The level of contact betweenusers and developers is primarily informal (telephone, e-mail,fax, with some mail correspondence), although the interactionsmay lead to formal published papers and presentations. Topicsof discussion include requests and suggestions for new codecapabilities and improvements, contributions of code enhance-ments and new features, the reporting and resolution of codebugs, and collaboration on joint papers. Industrial managersand government agencies involved with more programmaticconcerns, such as proposals and funding, interact with theKIVA team leader. Programmatic contact is more formal andis carefully documented by specific forms, progress reports,and other correspondence. When the technology is transferredon a formal basis, through articles, briefings, and contracts,the professional communicator plays a role in helping toprepare reports for publication, videotapes, poster sessions,newsreleases, fact sheets, and presentation visuals.It has become increasingly common for KIVA users to cometo
Los
Alamos for days, weeks, or months to work directlywith the KIVA team. The largest commitment
so
far wasmade by the Cummins Engine Company, which assigned amechanical engineer to work at
Los
Alamos for a year. Alreadya KIVA user before coming to
Los
Alamos, the engineer madeuse of the computing power at
Los
Alamos to further themodeling efforts of Cummins. Even more important over thelong term was his participation in improving integral partsof the program. For example, he contributed to replacing theexplicit subcycling solution method that had been adopted in
1981-2
with a new and sophisticated implicit technique thatallowed a significant performance gain. The benefits of hisstay were mutual: The
Los
Alamos team, never more than
2-3
people strong at any one time through the
1980s,
had anappreciable gain in staff for a year; then Cummins regainedan employee who had become a KIVA expert with a wealthof experience in combustion modeling in general.KIVA
MOVES
INTO
A
WIDER WORLDIn
1987,
the
Los
Alamos team presented a paper at theSociety of Automotive Engineers
(SAE)
International Con-gress
[3].
It discussed a KIVA calculation of a DISC enginewith a complex three-dimensional geometry, which modeledthe compression of air after intake valve closure, the fuelinjection process, spark ignition, and the burning of the air-fuel mixture. Calculations were made under three differentengine load conditions; the results reported included compar-isons with experimental data of cylinder pressure historiesand analysis of exhaust products. Some of these comparedwell with experiment, others not
so
well. More important,perhaps, was that KIVA revealed flow details inaccessible tothe experimentalists. Of primary importance were graphics thatillustrated the position of the burning fuel cloud as a function
of
time, which provided a possible explanation of why theengine, although performing quite well, had a higher level ofemissions than had been predicted. This was one of the firsttimes that such a detailed study had been reported; the paperreceived a
1988
SAE
Arch
T.
Colwell Merit Award for makingan outstanding contribution to the automotive literature.One study alone hardly constitutes comprehensive bench-mark testing. The
Los
Alamos team and other users worldwidesoon began testing KIVA in a broad variety of applications.Over time a significant number of papers were presented,each focusing on some aspect of the model and often offeringextensions and improvements. The model itself was graduallybeing made more efficient and realistic, resulting in the publicrelease in
1989
of the improved version previously mentioned,called KIVA-I1
[4],
[5].
Usage and acceptance of the program grew rapidly afterthe introduction of KIVA-11; today it is in use by the BigThree U.
S.
auto makers, Cummins, Caterpillar, many federallaboratories, and mechanical engineering departments at nu-merous universities. In
1990,
a patent was issued to GeneralMotors
[6]
for a high-turbulence piston design that specificallyidentified three-dimensional computer simulation for makingthe invention possible. KIVA-I1 played a major role in thisdevelopment.Another area in which KIVA-I1 is being heavily used is inmodeling gas turbine combustors. Under NASA sponsorship,researchers are conducting a combined CFD-experimental pro-gram to study a variety of combustor designs. Their goal is tocontribute improved combustors with reduced NO, productionfor the next generation of civilian jet aircraft engines.

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