University of Arizona Professor Chi-Kwan Chan developing n-body algorithm using Intel's OneAPI for the FPGA and XPUs

The direct n-body problem solves the motion of massive particles under gravitational interaction. It is one of the first non-linear dynamic problems studied by physicists and has a wide range of applications from celestial mechanics to cosmology. More recently, detections of gravitational waves from coalescence black holes and neutron stars demand accurate calculations of binaries in crowded stellar systems. This strongly motivates the development of modern direct n-body solvers.

The complexity of direct n-body is O(n^2) because of the pair-wise interaction. Special purpose hardware accelerator was developed in the 2000's to speed up these calculations but was proven too expensive to shift the paradigm. Today, after twenty years of developments, general purpose hardware accelerators such as GPUs are mature, and FPGAs are available as hardware accelerators. Now is the right moment to revisit hardware accelerated direct n-body algorithms.

In this collaboration between Texas A&M High Performance Research Computing and The University of Arizona, we are developing a new direct n-body solver in Data Parallel C++ with SYCL. We have demonstrated that FPGAs are efficient in solving the direct n-body problem. We are exploring different memory layouts and optimization strategies. We will benchmark these implementations on Intel CPUs, GPUs, and FPGAs and will find out if FPGAs are more efficient than GPUs in solving the direct n-body problem.


HPRC’s Sandra Nite talks about Escape Rooms in STEM Education at Frontiers in Education 2022

Dr. Sandra Nite, a Research Scientist at HPRC presented a paper titled "Expanding Participation through Student-Designed Escape Rooms" at the IEEE Frontiers in Education 2022: Grand Challenges in Engineering Education conference in Uppsala, Sweden. Dr. Nite has focused on the use of mathematics in STEM fields. In 2021 Dr. Nite had the idea to use a popular recreational event, escape rooms, in the camp. It is well known that problem-solving is an important skill, especially in mathematics. She also wanted them to integrate their basic knowledge of cryptography to incorporate at least one cipher in the clues. She hoped students would enjoy the experience of creating escape rooms but was not sure they could do it in the time allotted during the camp. Many students had never experienced an escape room, so they first experienced the escape attempt through one set up by the camp counselors. The students loved solving the clues to escape and creating escape rooms for other groups of students to attempt escape. More importantly, they commented favorably upon their increased ability to work collaboratively, use their creativity, communicate effectively, and think critically in problem-solving.

Dr. Sandra Nite works with HPRC on education and research. Since 2019, she has led the Governor's Merit Summer Program grants from the Texas Workforce Commission. These grants allowed the HPRC Summer Computing Academy program to provide STEM camp experiences for 110 Texas high school students. Several publications and presentations about the curriculum for K-12 students and the impact of these camps on student interest in STEM subjects and careers have been presented and published by the project team. Information about the conference can be found at The full paper will be available in the conference proceedings shortly.