The laboratory was founded as the National Aeronautical Laboratory in 1955, and the space division was incorporated into the newly-designated National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL) in 1963. Since then, NAL has conducted research and development related to aircraft, aeroengines and rockets. At the same time, NAL has directed its effort towards constructing large-scale test facilities for common use with other Government organizations. NAL's research activities have made many important achievements in the field of aerodynamics,material strength, structural mechanics, aeroengines and control systems.
Major Areas of Research Research activities in the Computational Sciences Division are focused on numerical simulation technology, ranging from basic to applied, which is now a key technology in research and development in the field of aeronautical and space technology. Research on applied artificial intelligence and image processing is also being conducted. Additionally, the Computational Sciences Division is responsible for the management and operation of the Numerical Simulator.
Numerical simulation technology is a key research and development technology in the field of aeronautics and astronautics, which has been advancing rapidly together with the evolution of ultra-high speed computers. NAL's efforts are devoted to the research and development of numerical simulation technologies for results of studies on mathematical and numerical analysis, parallel computers, and image processings. The developed software packages are effective design tools for aircraft and spacecraft in Japan.
The main computational resource at NWT is is a unique parallel computer system of distributed memory architecture composed of vector processors. NWT consists of 140 Processing Elements (PE), two Control Processors(CP) and Crossbar Network. That is, each PE itself is a vector supercomputer similar to VP400. Each PE has 256 MBytes of memory and peak performance of 1.7 GFLOPS. PE has Vector Unit, Scalar Unit and Data Mover which communicates with other PE's. PE is 50% faster than the standard VP400 and same size of memory. CP has 128 MB of memory. CP manages NWT and communicates with VP2600 through SSU. CP's do not execute real computation of CFD code. The cross-bar network has 421 MByte/s x 2 x 142 performance between each processors. The total performance of NWT is 236 GFLOPS and 35 GB main memory.