Press Release

NASA RFI: Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program: Fast Computing Challenge

By SpaceRef Editor
April 27, 2015
Filed under , , ,



Synopsis – Apr 27, 2015


General Information

    Solicitation Number: NNM15ZZP003L

    Posted Date: Apr 27, 2015

    FedBizOpps Posted Date: Apr 27, 2015

    Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No

    Original Response Date: May 31, 2015

    Current Response Date: May 31, 2015

    Classification Code: A — Research and Development

    NAICS Code: 541712


Contracting Office Address


NASA/George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Procurement Office, Marshall Space Flight Center, AL 35812




Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program (TACP) – Prizes and Challenges, NNM15ZZP003L AGENCY: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). ACTION: Request for Information by May 31, 2015. Responses must be submitted in electronic form no later than May 30, 2015 to Mr. Michael Hetle, Program Executive, ARMD Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program (TACP), NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street SW, Washington DC 20546-0001. E-mail address: . For general information on NASA Challenges Programs, see: . 


SUMMARY: This notice is issued in accordance with 51 U.S.C. 20144 and The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 (42 U.S.C. 2451, et seq.) amended; PRIZE AUTHORITY Section. 314. NASA ARMD’s Prizes and Challenges Program seeks to stimulate innovation in technologies that have value to NASA and the nation through open prize competitions that directly engage the public, academia, and industry. NASA is seeking non-traditional approaches through expanded outreach opportunities, which appeal to broad and diverse interests, and may enable a viable technology demonstration and solution to difficult challenge problem sets. 


The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is fourfold: (1) determine a Fast Computing community of interest in competing for a potential challenge, (2) gather realistic feedback on the statement of challenge that are contained in the text body of this RFI, (3) identify a realistic timeline to demonstrate a Fast Computing leap in technological ability, and (4) identify potential partners interested in (a) validating the value in Technology Readiness Level (TRL) demonstration in the arena of Fast Computing, (b) assisting NASA in managing and executing this prize challenge, which may include the qualification of potential competitors. A draft set of competition rules and terms for this prize challenge, to give potential competitors and partners more insight into the scope, performance and technical sophistication of the contest. 


This RFI is for informational purposes only and the Government will not pay for the information received. This RFI is NOT to be construed as a commitment by the U.S. Government to enter into any agreement or obligation or to conduct a Fast Computing prize challenge. This document is for informational and planning purposes and to gauge interest from the community in participation. The Government welcomes all segments of industry, academia, and government, including associations and trade groups, innovators, individuals and enthusiasts to reply.


Responses should be submitted in Adobe PDF or Microsoft Word format and are limited to five (5) pages in length inclusive of any graphics or attachments. Responses should include (as applicable): name, address, email address, and phone number of the respondent, business, or organization, with point of contact for business or organization. Submissions should include a realistic timeline for achievement and demonstration of Fast Computing goals. All responses are to be for general access by U.S. Government evaluators and comments are submitted with the understanding that NASA may provide summary solicitation results to the public. 


Responses must be submitted in electronic form not later than May 31, 2015 to Mr. Michael Hetle, Program Executive, ARMD Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program (TACP), NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street SW, Washington DC 20546-0001. E-mail address: . DATES: Due date for responses to this RFI is May 31, 2015. 


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Statement of difficult problem set related to aeronautical research and development applications of Fast Computing. Advanced computational tools, such as high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics (CFD) not only enable reductions in ground-based and in-flight testing requirements, but also provide added physical insight, enable superior designs at reduced cost and risk, and open new frontiers in aerospace vehicle design and performance. The cross-cutting computational technology impacts three of the ARMD strategic thrusts (i.e., Innovation in Commercial Supersonic Aircraft, Ultra-efficient Commercial Vehicles and Transition to Low-Carbon Propulsion) and also supports the development of launch vehicles and planetary entry systems. Despite tremendous progress made in the past few decades, CFD tools are too slow for simulation of complex geometry flows, particularly those involving flow separation and multi-physics (e.g., combustion) applications. To enable high-fidelity CFD for multi-disciplinary analysis and design, the speed of computation must be increased by orders of magnitude. This critical need was recognized by the recent CFD Vision 2030 Study conducted by industry and academia under NASA’s sponsorship. Opportunities exist to reduce time to solution by orders of magnitude by exploiting algorithmic developments in such areas as grid adaptation, higher-order methods and efficient solution techniques for high performance computing hardware. 


A potential prize challenge will require that speed gains are to be achieved primarily by algorithmic enhancements, not by hardware (i.e., scaling to larger number of cores). Also, the speedup must be applicable across the Mach number regime from subsonic to hypersonic. The challenge will provide selected base geometries and flow conditions and time it takes to perform simulations using NASA’s FUN3D code. Participants will solve same problems and demonstrate efficiency enhancements by implementing innovative numerical algorithms in NASA CFD codes, or in their own CFD codes, without compromising solution accuracy.


Thus the problem that now takes 3000 wall-clock hours on 3000 cores, for example, will reduce to 30 or 3 hours for 100x or 1000x speed up, respectively. These would be considered to be gains and, thus, Fast Computing capability will allow high-fidelity multidisciplinary analysis to be used in early stages of vehicle development, resulting in novel configurations that are energy efficient and environment friendly toward research and development objectives.


I. Prize Amounts: The purse for demonstrating a LEVEL I – 100x speed up is planned to be two hundred twenty five thousand U.S. dollars; the purse for demonstrating a LEVEL II – 1000x speed up is planned to be five hundred thousand U.S. dollars. Up to 20 percent of the prize purse may be used to reward competitors for successful completion of a qualification round for both LEVEL I, and, LEVEL II. Prizes will be offered to entrants that meet specific requirements detailed should a challenge be announced. II. Eligibility: To be eligible to win a prize, the competitor must (1) register and comply with all requirements in the rules and enter into a team agreement; (2) in the case of a private entity, shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States, and in the case of an individual, where participating singly or in a group, shall be a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States; and (3) shall not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment. 


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The point of contact is Mr. Michael Hetle, Program Executive, ARMD Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program (TACP), NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street SW, Washington DC 20546-0001. E-mail address: .


Point of Contact

    Name:Melinda E. Swenson

    Title:Contracting Officer




SpaceRef staff editor.