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November 2015

A visual way to understand and analyze large quantities of scientific data

At a glance
The challenge

Complex simulations, essential for engineering, generate massive amounts of data that is hard to use

The solution

 A new visualization tool that displays data as charts or infographics

The outcome

Increased usability and convenience for the software

What's next?

 Further development of the tool and take it to market

Envenio Inc. is a Fredericton-based start-up that develops Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software solutions for engineers. CFD is used in many industries to simulate the complex physics of liquids and gasses in a virtual environment. Applications for CFD include aerospace, automotive, defence, process industries, and marine engineering.

Envenio’s proprietary software EXN/Aero takes advantage of compact supercomputing equipment to speed up CFD solutions, and as a result, it generates output data at a high rate. Prior to the Accelerate internship, EXN/Aero could not process or display the streaming output data in a useful, dynamic manner.

The company was introduced to Mengru Wang, a master’s student in the University of New Brunswick’s Computer Science department, by her supervisor Dr. Eric Aubanel. They agreed to collaborate on a Mitacs Accelerate project, in which Mengru would develop a data visualization utility for EXN/Aero. This utility would accept data from the simulation dynamically and display it as charts or infographics, so that users could monitor simulation metrics and better understand trends.

It didn’t take long for Mengru to identify a major challenge in need of her expertise: “Initially, data was moved into Excel and interpreted using charts available within that program,” she explains. “This took a long time and the dynamic information could not be monitored through Excel.” Over the course of her internship, Mengru developed a monitoring tool called the EXN/Vizer Monitor. With it, users can keep track of dynamic data and analyze it efficiently while the simulation is running.

In addition to her work on EXN/Vizer, Mengru designed and developed a visualization framework, named Parareal-Dashboard. This tool monitors and displays performance data from EXN/Aero's unique parallel-in-time simulation accelerator.

We're very pleased at the results of this project, which increases the usability and convenience of our software,” says Jian Tao Zhang, Lead Programmer and Head of Quality Assurance, at Envenio.

Mengru is similarly satisfied: “It's such a useful experience for graduate students to learn from a company and its staff of engineers. I started the project with little development experience, but I have since gained many practical skills.”

Ian McLeod, Chief Executive Officer and President of Envenio, commends Mitacs Accelerate for bridging academic and industry expertise: “Interns like Mengru bring fresh expertise to complex projects like ours. With the Accelerate program, we can move our business forward on a start-up-friendly budget and access a talented pool of potential future employees.”

Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada and  the Government of New Brunswick for their support of the Accelerate research internship in this story. Across Canada, the Accelerate program also receives support from Alberta Innovates, the Government of British Columbia, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan and Research Manitoba.

Do you have a business challenge that could benefit from a research solution? If so, contact Mitacs today to discuss partnership opportunities: