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David Strutt August 4, 1998 17:49

CFD programs in North American universities?
Hi there. My question is, how do most CFD professionals get their training/education? Are there universities in North America which offer specific CFD degree programs, or do people simply take grad level engineering courses on FEM/CFD? I suppose there must also be some applied mathematicians out there...

Fabien Coppens August 5, 1998 03:55

Re: CFD programs in North American universities?
To my knowledge, there are no specific CFD programs. Many universities have aerospace engineering departments, and others offer good aerospace/fluid mechanics training in their mechanical engineering or applied mathematics departments. I don't think that it matters very much where you get your B.Sc., but for post-grad studies the level of the university is quite important. I would definitely recommend Stanford, Caltech, Urbana-Champagne, UCLA, USC. It also depends on what you want to do. Some departments are more focused on experimental aspects, others on numerics (Stanford in cooperation with Center for Turbulence Research). I don't know if that answers your question. To the best of my knowledge there is no specific CFD training, it's just up to you to choose a CFD orientation during your M.Sc. and especially as your PhD subject.

John C. Chien August 5, 1998 21:29

Re: CFD programs in North American universities?
At college level, students are not required to write thesis in order to get the degree. At the MS level some colleges still require the student to write a thesis. At the PhD level, the student must be able to write a dissertation. So, at the MS level, the student is likely to have only one year to mork on his thesis, if it is a requirement. This time limit really put a practical limit on the quality of the thesis.( there is always exceptions.) In order to spend three to four years on the PhD program, the student definitely needs some kind of financial support so that he and his family can survive through this period of time. This depends on the projects his professor can obtain from different government or industrial agencies. When the government was spending money in defense industries, the need for using CFD to reduce the weapon system development time was critical. Therefore, the defense industries, the government agencies, the professors and the students were all interlinked in the system. The real need was transfered into research projects which in turn provided financial support for the students working for their advanced degrees. In 90's, with the defense budget cut-back, the defense industries collapsed, the number of companies reduced, naturally, it's going to be harder for a professor to get adequate support for his projects and his students. It is also hard for student to work in the same field because of the shrinking job market. He is likely to move to other field. This is roughly the research politics. The need for CFD training may also come from the commercial products industries other than the defense products. In any event, the driving force normally come from the "competition" whether it is for a better weapon system or for a better product. As more people become aware of the capability of CFD and have the direct access to the affordable computers, it will become a general trend to use CFD just like the Internet. In 1982, I was solving 1-D transient shock wave problem and 2-D rearward-facing step problem in BASIC on a Tandy micro-computer ( it was not called a PC at that time.)which has a clock speed of two mega-Hertz. The maximum amount of user available RAM was only 48K. Someone must be able to compute the speed ratio between the today's 400 MH pC and the old two MH (8-bit) micro-computer. The previous round of CFD development probably was created by the defense industries need, but this time, the pressure of using CFD will come from the world wide use of PC's and Internet. The product development through CFD maybe the only way to get a quality product in time on the market.

Mike White August 13, 1998 15:57

Re: CFD programs in North American universities?
I might be a bit biased, but I'd add the University of California, Davis to the list as well. They offer a number of CFD courses and do CFD work in both the Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering department and the Math Department. Most of the CFD work there is done at the Center for CFD and the Institute of Theoretical Dynamics. They have web pages at:



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