Project Title

Modeling of urban wind flow and its interaction with buildings and their components


Researcher

Girma Bitsuamlak, Western University


Industry partner

Stephenson Engineering, Klimaat Consulting & Innovation Inc., Wasau Tile


Supported by

SOSCIP, IBM Canada Ltd., OCE, NSERC

Cities Digital Media

An associate professor at Western University is setting out to transform how we think about wind. Prof. Girma Bitsuamlak and his research team are working with Canada’s fastest super­computer, the BGQ, to develop numerical models that simulate the effects of extreme microclimates on cities, particularly wind, to better inform smarter and safer city planning and building design.

“Canada is known for its diverse geography and for being exposed to extreme types of climate,” explained Prof. Bitsuamlak, who serves as research director for Western University’s WindEEE Research Institute and a Canada Research Chair in Wind Engineering.

By tapping into the high-performance computing resources and expertise offered through SOSCIP, Prof. Bitsuamlak and his team are able to develop a multi-scale climate responsive design framework that considers the complex interaction between buildings and wind. 

 

“The simulation of the wind flow field and its interaction with the built environment is complex. This complexity arises from the characteristics of the incoming wind itself such as its speed and turbulence as well as the surrounding conditions (urban topology), and the interaction between wind and the study building.”

The research can be used to aid decision-making in construction, one of Canada’s most resource-intensive sectors and contribute to smarter city planning. 

It can also make pedestrian life safer, reducing wind tunnels created by the proximity of tall buildings.

The team includes ten PhD students, two Master’s students and a group of research scientists.

“At Western we have the best environment to study the microclimate of cities,” he says, referring to the WindEEE Dome, the world’s first three-dimensional climate testing chamber. 

PhD student, Kimberley Adamek, is excited to combine her knowledge of architecture with data science.

“Data science research helps us understand global-scale concepts that dictate how our world works,” explains Adamek. “By visualizing large scale climate patterns, we can begin to understand our role as designers and the implications of our decisions on the environment.”

“SOSCIP has been a blessing to my research by providing the computational resources, particularly the BGQ,” said Prof. Bitsuamlak.

“We don’t have to water down the problem, we can tackle complex problems as they exist. When you understand the problem it’s easier to build a solution.”

This project was approved for the Smart Computing R&D Challenge.