Alya: Multiphysics engineering simulation toward exascale

Mariano Vázquez, Guillaume Houzeaux, Seid Koric, Antoni Artigues, Jazmin Aguado-Sierra, Ruth Arís, Daniel Mira, Hadrien Calmet, Fernando Cucchietti, Herbert Owen, Ahmed Taha, Evan Dering Burness, José María Cela, Mateo Valero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alya is a multi-physics simulation code developed at Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC). From its inception Alya code is designed using advanced High Performance Computing programming techniques to solve coupled problems on supercomputers efficiently. The target domain is engineering, with all its particular features: complex geometries and unstructured meshes, coupled multi-physics with exotic coupling schemes and physical models, ill-posed problems, flexibility needs for rapidly including new models, etc. Since its beginnings in 2004, Alya has scaled well in an increasing number of processors when solving single-physics problems such as fluid mechanics, solid mechanics, acoustics, etc. Over time, we have made a concerted effort to maintain and even improve scalability for multi-physics problems. This poses challenges on multiple fronts, including: numerical models, parallel implementation, physical coupling models, algorithms and solution schemes, meshing process, etc. In this paper, we introduce Alya's main features and focus particularly on its solvers. We present Alya's performance up to 100.000 processors in Blue Waters, the NCSA supercomputer with selected multi-physics tests that are representative of the engineering world. The tests are incompressible flow in a human respiratory system, low Mach combustion problem in a kiln furnace, and coupled electro-mechanical contraction of the heart. We show scalability plots for all cases and discuss all aspects of such simulations, including solver convergence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Computational Science
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Computational mechanics
  • Multi-physics coupling
  • Parallelization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science
  • Modeling and Simulation


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