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Prof. Dr. I. V. Hertel: Grußwort
French - German Research Program on Numerical Flow Simulation (7th Workshop), Friday, 5. November, 1999; Magnus-Haus, Berlin
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear Colleagues,
it is a pleasure for me, to welcome you here in the Berlin on behalf of the Senate of Berlin. Even if most of you know, let me remind you that Berlin is at the same time a city, the German capital, and one of the 16 German states, the Länder, who are responsible for science, education and culture. Just to give you an idea: In Berlin this comprises 3 "Full Universities", 8 "Universities of applied science" and 4 "Academic Arts-Schools", about two dozens of major non university research institutions, as well as the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Science, founded nearly 300 years ago in 1700 by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, the great universal scholar, philosopher, mathematician - whom the German as well as the French scientists and scholars consider as being "their Leibniz".
You have come to Berlin at a very special moment in history. To receive you here in the Magnus-Haus, the Center for Scientific Exchange of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft, would have been impossible ten years ago. 10 years ago, four days from now, the Berlin wall came down and the iron curtain finally collapsed. And now, during these months Berlin is in the process of becoming really the German capital. The federal government and the parliament have moved here, finally we say, but for my generation and especially for those who have lived in this city for many years during the cold war, this is still some kind of miracle. You remember: Berlin was the German capital until the end of world war II, East Berlin was the capital of the late German Democratic Republic and next to it West-Berlin was located in the middle of the "red sea" - as one used to say in those times.
The capital which is now emerging is the capital of a new united Germany as an integral part of Europe. The people of Berlin are confident that this city will make its contribution to the completion of Europe. The specific role which Berlin can play in this process towards Europe will have to do with its geography and also with its history, specifically with its post-war history. Let me phrase it as follows: Here the triangle Brussels - Berlin - London meets the line Paris - Berlin - Warsaw - Moscow. Or: in whichever direction you turn from Berlin, you will always be faced with Europe. This is a great challenge and responsibility which the city has to accept.
Welcome thus again in the German Capital, in the New Berlin, as we like to call it these days in order to mark the spirit of our revitalised (or should I say: reborn) city in the prime of its new beginning. During these last 10 years the city is in a continuous process of change. The many busy construction cranes which may have caught your eye on the way from the airport or the railroad station are just the obviously visible signs of a dramatic dynamics which involves all aspects of economic, political and cultural life in this city. I hope you will get a chance to taste some of this spirit between or after the sessions of your rather tight schedule today and tomorrow.
Let me come back to the Magnus-Haus which is an excellent choice for a meeting of scientists making extensive use of mathematics. You may have read already in that little pamphlet Dr. Lachenmeier has sent you, that this house once was owned by Joseph Louis de Lagrange, when he in the second half of the eighteenth century was working here in Berlin. Modern mathematics, and applied mathematics in particular cannot be thought without Lagrange, I have been told that you for instance use the "Lagrange" method when following the history of individual fluid particles in flow processes. If Lagrange was still alive, he would certainly be very happy to see this meeting take place in the house he once owned.
The names of Leibniz and Lagrange are just two prominent examples illustrating that co-operation between French and German science has a long and strong tradition.
Lagrange came to Berlin in 1766 upon invitation of the Prussian King, Friedrich II. He appointed him to the position of the director for physics and mathematics of the Academy of Science (founded in 1700 by Leibniz), where he did research for over twenty years. Interestingly enough, Lagrange was not professor at a university. The Berlin University, the predecessor of present days Humboldt University, was only founded in 1810. In the eighteenth century, universities in Europe were not the main centres of research. Natural sciences at that time were subject to a lot of hostilities in those days - not completely unlike some feelings certain parts of the public extend to it in our days. And while mathematics was considered an honourable science, since its origin could be traced back to ancient times, physics was considered disreputable.
Lagrange«s work in Berlin was most successful. Already in 1766 he published its famous paper On the solution of numerical equations, a topic certainly familiar to you. His main work during this time was in celestial mechanics. For his investigations of the motion of the Jupiter satellites, at that time only four had been discovered, for the study of the three-body problem and related topics he received the Grand Prix of the French Academy of Sciences in 1766, 1772, 1774, and 1778. Lagrange returned to Paris in 1787, where he was greeted by the royal family and the Academy with greatest honours. Later on when the École Polytechnique was founded in 1797, he designed the curricula for mathematics and became its first professor.
I believe it is in the spirit of this tradition that the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifiqué (CNRS) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) decided to continue this scientific tradition, which has been so fruitful in the past. As the program of your workshop shows, many flow problems, not accessible until recently because of their complexity, can now be simulated on high-performance computers. In fact, a new discipline, computational fluid dynamics has emerged, which in a broader sense is a part of the computational sciences. Computational sciences and applied mathematics penetrate today almost all branches of science and modern engineering. Applied mathematics is one of the focal points of the research potentials in Berlin - "Applied mathematics, the hidden key technology" was the title of an interdisciplinary strategic workshop with a strong industrial participation organised by my administration not long ago.
The Senate of Berlin pays proper attention to the importance of this field and makes every effort to maintain sufficient capacities for high-performance computing: The Konrad-Zuse Zentrum für Informationstechnik in Berlin, the "ZIB" is one of the three or four of Germanys leading computation centres. Presently the ZIB is operating, among other machines, a Cray T3E with 384 processors and several high-performance visualisation systems. The ZIB is well known for its strong competence in algorithmic developments, and it offers an integrated approach to a wide variety of scientific problems: The intention is to master high-performance computing and visualisation with competent rigidity and maintain the algorithmic developments on an internationally competitive level. It is also involved in non numerical applications of modern mathematics which are - as I have been told - of great importance e.g. in traffic logistics - traffic research being another very important subject in Berlin which also offers a big application field for such optimisation - as you may already have discovered on your way through the city.
About one quarter of the machine time available at ZIB is spent on the solution of problems in fluid dynamics. Flows about aerodynamic configurations and turbulent flows are studied in six research projects. They comprise flows about high-lift wing-flap systems, separating turbulent boundary layers, problems of recompression on transonic wings, large-eddy simulation for complex geometries, and distorted flows downstream from a backward facing step.
Although resources are as usual limited, we still try very hard to provide adequate means for fostering hard- and software tools. We hope, that through our commitment we can maintain scientific, technological and industrial competitiveness. Presently, the plan to install a new 21st century massive parallel machine with several teraflop capacity is proceeding. And we are very hopeful that this project will recommended by the German Science Council in the very near future. It is also a very ambitious project in the sense that several German Länder are involved in it and share the cost and responsibilities and it will explore the possibilities of "Meta-Computing": one part of the facility will be located in Berlin, another part in Hannover and both machines will be linked by a gigabit glass fibre.
In this spirit we are most grateful to the CNRS and the DFG for supporting fluid flow research. Berlin scientists participate in this program with two projects, one is jointly being carried out by scientists of the Laboratoire de Mécanique des Fluides et d«Acoustique in Ecully in France and the Hermann Föttinger-Institut of the Technische Universität Berlin, and the other by scientists from three Universities, the University in Marseille, Stuttgart University, and the Freie Universität Berlin.
As I already indicated, the specific topics you have chosen for this workshop and your field of research in general are important not only from a scientific point of view. The development of numerical solution techniques, the study of crystal growth and melts, of flows of reacting gases, and of turbulent flows also offer a wide variety of applications. These problems are a stimulating challenge for the future development of computation techniques and ever faster and bigger machines. The immense complexity and the enormous size of the problems warrant co-operative efforts. Your joint program is a promising step and example we should follow with vigour also in other fields of research.
I wish you a successful workshop and a pleasant stay in Berlin.
Prof. Dr. Ingolf Hertel, e-Mail: Hertel@mbi-berlin.de
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