PhD Position University of Plymouth (UK)

The School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics (Faculty of Science and Engineering) at the Univeristy of Plymouth invites applications for a PhD Studentship on the subject of Accelerating Sparse Matrix Solvers for High-Performance Computing as part of a collaborative framework involving ENGYS.

Applicants interested in this position, please click here to open the job vacancies page at the University of Plymouth's website and follow the instructions provided to submit your application.The closing date is 12 noon on 15th March 2024. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview shortly thereafter.


Project Description:

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a cornerstone in the understanding of many scientific and technological areas such as in marine offshore renewable energy (ORE) technologies, aero-space/defence, automotive/motorsport, and others. CFD software applications incur huge computational workloads, and therefore without the use of expensive and energy-intensive High-Performance Computing (HPC) platforms, running these applications becomes impractical. Current state-of-the-art general purpose CFD software routines are often inefficient, and many are unable to utilize more than 5% of the available computing power of modern computer systems.

The aim of this project is to improve the execution time of the sparse matrix solver of the leading open-source CFD library (OpenFOAM). This is the performance bottleneck of many modelling applications currently employed in ORE sector, automotive/motorsport and others. The optimization will target contemporary x64 CPUs and/or Nvidia GPUs. The student will investigate/evaluate various sparse matrix memory formats and optimize the code by using parallel programming frameworks such as CUDA, MPI, OpenMP, AVX intrinsics and others.

This PhD project is also supported by an industrial partner (ENGYS). ENGYS Ltd. is a leading provider of open-source CFD software for the enterprise sector and developer of the OpenFOAM-based HELYX software suite. This ambitious and pioneering PhD project necessitates close cooperation between HPC experts, CFD domain scientists and engineers. At least two real-world applications (test cases) will be considered, including industrial applications and benchmarks from the CCP-WSI EPSRC project.

Non-UK applicants are also welcome to apply as the international fees may be waived for exceptional candidates.


Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant Masters qualification. Applications from both UK and overseas students are welcome.

The studentship is supported for 3.5 years and includes full Home tuition fees, Bench fee plus a stipend of £19,088 per annum (2024/25 rate TBC). The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover International fees will have to cover the difference between the Home and the International tuition fee rates. The international component of the fee may be waived for outstanding international applicants.

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Dr Vasilios Kelefouras (


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