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Driving Blood-Flow Research at the Petascale

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blood flow simulation

A simulation of malaria-infected blood traveling through an artery of the brain. Infected blood cells are blue; healthy ones are red.

Credit: Joseph A. Tinsely and Mike Papka / Argonne National Laboratory

Brown University researchers are using Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Cray XT5 Kraken supercomputer to develop three-dimensional models of the human arterial tree to enhance predictive capabilities in certain diseases. "High-performance computing makes realistic modeling of vascular and hematological diseases, from a whole organ down to protein-level representation of red blood cells, a possibility," says Brown's George Karniadakis, who is leading the research.

The researchers also are developing software based on a combination of the NEKTAR code, used in flow dynamics, and the LAMMPS code, used in particle dynamics, to analyze blood flow. The new simulations are "sparking even more research to go deeper and understand the dynamics of arterial walls' motion," says Brown's Leopold Grinberg. Modeling the arteries led to the discovery that red blood cells become stiffer when a person has contracted malaria. The researchers also found that aneurysms produce sounds in the 100 Hertz range, which can be used to diagnose future complications.

Grinberg says that as computational power and algorithms improve, many more discoveries in prediction, diagnostics, and computer simulations are likely.

From Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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