Hydraulics in the era of exponentially growing computing power

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Recent advances in computational algorithms coupled with exponentially growing computing power pave the way for developing a powerful simulation-based engineering science framework for tackling a broad range of hydraulic engineering flows. Multi-physics simulations taking into account complex waterway bathymetry, energetic coherent structures, turbulence/sediment interactions and morphodynamics, free-surface effects and flow structure interaction phenomena are now well within reach and are beginning to impact engineering practice. I review such progress and offer specific examples highlighting the enormous potential of simulation-based engineering science to supplement and dramatically augment the insights that can be gained from physical experiments. I discuss major computational challenges that lie ahead but also underscore the enormous opportunities to take advantage of advanced algorithms, powerful supercomputers and big data to tackle societal challenges in restoration of aquatic environments, sustainable mitigation of the impacts of global environmental change, and development of efficient and environmentally compatible renewable energy systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-560
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Hydraulic Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 3 2015


  • Complex hydraulic structures
  • Data-driven models
  • Energy-water nexus
  • Flooding
  • Large-eddy simulation
  • Real-life waterways
  • Sediment transport
  • Simulation-based engineering science
  • Turbulence


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