Complex Computer Simulations for Car Designers Just Got Significantly Faster

The MathWorks today announced that Argonne National Laboratory significantly reduced the simulation time of models built with the Powertrain System Analysis Toolkit (PSAT) by using Parallel Computing Toolbox and MATLAB Distributed Computing Server from The MathWorks.

PSAT is an industry-standard model that enables automotive engineers to assess design tradeoffs by simulating a large number of advanced powertrain configurations. Using two other MathWorks products, Simulink and Stateflow, Argonne, funded by the US Department of Energy, developed PSAT in conjunction with leading automotive manufacturers to help automotive engineers evaluate fuel economy and performance of advanced vehicle designs, including hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and plug-in HEVs. Argonne used Parallel Computing Toolbox with PSAT to execute simulations on a 16-node cluster-reducing the overall run time from two weeks to one day. Using MATLAB Distributed Computing Server also enabled Argonne to move its simulations with ease from a desktop computer to a cluster in one hour.

"Hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles are much more complex than vehicles with conventional powertrains. The U.S. Department of Energy and automotive OEMs needed an efficient and reliable way to evaluate the effect that each component has on vehicle fuel economy and performance," explained Sylvain Pagerit, research engineer at Argonne National Laboratory. "Without parallel computing capabilities, we would not have been able to run the necessary simulations in the time allotted and, consequently, would have been unable to support our customers. The combination of PSAT and Parallel Computing Toolbox save countless hours in development by providing an efficient simulation-based environment for design tradeoff studies."

"Traditionally, automotive engineers use prototypes to decide on system design tradeoffs. However, with the large number of advanced powertrain options, much of the hardware is being developed in parallel with the vehicle system development," said Jon Friedman, automotive industry marketing manager at The MathWorks. "Model-Based Design and tools such as PSAT allow automotive engineers to make critical design decisions early in the process. And by taking advantage of our parallel computing capabilities, the Argonne team cut a time-intensive simulation process down to one day, speeding up design evaluation and bringing significant time and cost savings to the automotive industry."

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