Multiple Finite Element Solver for the Cell BE™ Processor

[ Sustained performance for large objects: 52 GFLOP/s ]

Researchers at Digital Medics and the University of Dortmund developed the first ever Finite Element solver on the revolutionary Cell BE™ microprocessor manufactured by STI.

The solver is capable of computing dynamic non-linear problems from solid mechanics using a Newton-Krylov Multigrid algorithm with unprecedented performance. For example, on medium- to large-scale problems, the solver reached a sustained floating-point performance of 52 GFLOPS per second on a single processor (using all 8 SPUs at once). Possible applications for the solver are in biomechanics, classical civil and mechanical engineering.

In collaboration with the University of Dortmund, Digital Medics again was first to develop a FEM-based fluid dynamics solver on the Cell BE™.

The work on the fluid dynamics solver resulted in the first prototype implementation. We created a segregated FEM solver for the unsteady incompressible Navier-Stokes equations which employs a pressure projection technique and a basic Streamline Upwind Petrov-Galerkin discretization for the advection step. All equation systems are solved with a multigrid solver, similar to our structural mechanics application. The code is capable of dealing with unstructured triangular and tetrahedral meshes and is currently in an early alpha-phase where no optimization has been done yet. We will post benchmark results as soon as the code is more stable and optimized for the SPU (we used hand-optimized SPU assembler code for the structural dynamics solver and we intend to do the same for the Navier-Stokes solver). Once the code is fully optimized, we expect similar performance as in our structural dynamics solver. Stay tuned for further updates and upcoming animations.

Sample images

Data for the structural mechanics images:
235,584 tetrahedra
47,889 nodes

Data for the fluid dynamics images:
265,563 tetrahedra
46,006 nodes

Consulting services

Digital Medics also offers its expertise in programming for the Cell BE™ processor. Benefit from the full power of this amazing processor by relying on the experts. Find out how by contacting our sales department at, and a sales representative will contact you as soon as possible.

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