Wired 8.12: Monsters in a Box
: "Ford Engineering Computer Center
APPLICATION: Car crash and vehicle dynamics simulations HARDWARE: 2 Cray T-90s, 3 C-90s, and 5 SV1s POWER: 260 gigaflops PRICE: $100 million - $150 million
The largest customer for Cray's top-of-the-line machines, Ford Motor Company also runs a wide range of other brands that crash constantly - in simulations, that is. To save the lives of thousands of crash-test dummies, not to mention humans, the car and truck maker puts new designs through their paces at engineering computer centers in Dearborn, Michigan; Dunton, England; and Merkenich, Germany. The results of these digital demolition derbies, plus noise tests and vehicle dynamics analyses, are stored on 17 terabytes of disk space.
Ford's goal: To shorten development cycles through the increased use of computer techniques. Says Nick Smither, director of product development systems: 'All of our analysis and design work is done based on mathematical models, although we still crash cars to get final verification.' "