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Our research experts

Thomas Economon, Ph.D.

Simulation-based design: Pushing performance to the limit

“We are developing the methodologies and software tools that democratize simulation-based engineering design.”

Thomas Economon, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist

Senior Research Scientist at Robert Bosch, LLC in Sunnyvale, CA in the field of multiphysics simulation and optimization. Received PhD and MS degrees in the Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics at Stanford University and holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Notre Dame. Research interests include computational fluid dynamics (CFD), optimal shape design via adjoint-based methods, and high-performance computing. One of the original developers and a maintainer of the open-source SU2 software package for multiphysics analysis and design.

Curriculum vitae

Robert Bosch LLC

2017

Senior Research Scientist

Methodology and software development for the multiphysics simulation and design of Bosch products

Stanford University

2014

Postdoctoral Scholar

Led the development of multiphysics software embedded in new programming models for simulations of particle-laden flows on next-generation exascale supercomputers

Selected publications

  • Publications

    T. D. Economon (2018)

    Simulation and Adjoint-based Design for Variable Density Incompressible Flows with Heat Transfer
    • AIAA Paper 2018-3111
  • Publications

    R. Sanchez et al. (2018)

    Coupled adjoint‐based sensitivities in large‐displacement fluid‐structure interaction using algorithmic differentiation
    • R. Sanchez, T. Albring, R. Palacios, N. R. Gauger, T. D. Economon, J. J. Alonso
    • Int J Numer Meth Engng., vol. 113, issue 7,S. 1081–1107
  • Publications

    T. D. Economon et al. (2017)

    Adjoint Formulation Investigations of Benchmark Aerodynamic Design Cases in SU2
    • T.D. Economon, J.J. Alonso, T. Albring, N. Gauger
    • AIAA Paper 2017-4363
  • Publications

    E. S. Molina et al. (2017)

    Hybrid RANS/LES Calculations in SU2
    • E. S. Molina, C. Spode, R. Gil Annes da Silva, D. Manosalvas-Kjono, S. Nimmagadda, T. D. Economon, J. J. Alonso, M. Righi
    • AIAA Paper 2017-4284
  • Publications

    M. Pini et al. (2017)

    SU2: the open-source software for non-ideal compressible flows
    • M. Pini, S. Vitale, P. Colonna, G. Gori, A. Guardone, T. D. Economon, J. J. Alonso, F. Palacios
    • Journal of Physics: Conference Seriesvol. 821, issue 1
  • Publications

    T. D. Economon et al. (2016)

    Performance optimizations for scalable implicit RANS calculations with SU2
    • T. D. Economon, F. Palacios, J. J. Alonso, G. Bansal, D. Mudigere, A. Deshpande, A.Heinecke, M. Smelyanskiy
    • Computers and Fluids, vol. 129, S. 146-158
  • Publications

    T. D. Economon et al. (2016)

    SU2: An Open-Source Suite for Multi-Physics Simulation and Design
    • T. D. Economon, F. Palacios, S.R. Copeland, T.W. Lukaczyk, J.J Alonso
    • AIAA Journal, vol. 54, issue 3, S. 828-846
  • Publications

    T. D. Economon et al. (2015)

    Unsteady Continuous Adjoint Approach for Aerodynamic Design on Dynamic Meshes
    • T. D. Economon, F. Palacios, J. J. Alonso
    • AIAA Journal, vol. 53, issue 9, S. 2437-2453
  • Publications

    F. Palacios et al. (2015)

    Large-scale aircraft design using SU2
    • F. Palacios, T. D. Economon, A. Wendorff, J. J. Alonso
    • AIAA Paper 2015-1946
  • Publications

    Y. Zhou et al. (2015)

    A Discrete Adjoint Framework for Unsteady Aerodynamic and Aeroacoustic Optimization
    • Y. Zhou, T. Albring, N. Gauger, T. D. Economon, F. Palacios, J. J. Alonso
    • AIAA Paper 2015-3355
  • Publications

    F. Palacios et al. (2014)

    Stanford University Unstructured (SU2): Open-source analysis and design technology for turbulent flows
    • F. Palacios, T. D. Economon, A. C. Aranake, S. R. Copeland, A. K. Lonkar, T. W. Lukaczyk, D. E. Manosalvas, K. R. Naik, A. S. Padron, B. Tracey, A. Variyar, A., J. J. Alonso
    • AIAA Paper 2014-0243
  • Publications

    T. D. Economon et al. (2012)

    A Coupled-Adjoint Method for Aerodynamic and Aeroacoustic Optimization
    • T. D. Economon, F. Palacios, J. J. Alonso
    • AIAA Paper 2012-5598

Interview

Thomas Economon, Ph.D.

Thomas Economon, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist

“Please tell us what fascinates you most about research.”

Research is the creation of new knowledge, and from my point of view, there are very few dull moments in that process. I am motivated by knowing that there are always new concepts and methods that are just waiting to be discovered. It is also creative and artistic in many ways: new methods and software can take beautiful forms as one develops them for the first time. There is typically no template to follow, and nobody to tell you the next step for certain. Research can be frustrating at times, but when a breakthrough finally comes, it is all the more gratifying.

Thomas Economon, Ph.D.

Thomas Economon, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist

“What makes research done at Bosch so special?”

Bosch strives to find solutions for many critical issues impacting our world, including securing the future of mobility, energy, and critical resources such as clean air, food, and water for generations to come. Knowing that the output of Bosch research results in socially responsible products keeps me motivated. In order to reach those goals, Bosch maintains an open position concerning the approaches and tools that are required to get there, such as new working paradigms, open-source software, and open collaboration. Another advantage for Bosch research is the high degree of internationalization and diversity: we work across borders in very diverse teams whose members bring valuable skills and different perspectives to the table.

Thomas Economon, Ph.D.

Thomas Economon, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist

“What research topics are you currently working on at Bosch?”

My research focuses on the development of new simulation-based design methodologies for engineering systems with a heavy emphasis on computational fluid dynamics (CFD), adjoint-based techniques for design optimization, and high-performance computing. Engineering industries regularly depend upon these computational methods for analyzing and designing future automotive components, turbomachinery, or aircraft, for example. However, the goal is not just to simulate the performance of a component in a single configuration, but also to compute sensitivities of key performance metrics with respect to control input, such as the shape of the geometry, in order to understand how to change the design for improved performance. We are developing methods for design that include new physical models or multiple physical models simultaneously as well as realizing scalable, high-performance software implementations of the methods. As part of this work, we are leading the development of open-source software tools alongside other top researchers in the field from institutions all around the world.

Thomas Economon, Ph.D.

Thomas Economon, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist

“What are the biggest scientific challenges in your field of research?”

With the growing availability of compute resources, we will no longer be limited by single-discipline, steady-state, high-fidelity simulations for design purposes. With the increased compute power, designers can add more degrees of freedom to their simulations, thus expanding the envelope of applications that fit within realistic design cycle turnaround times, e.g., resource-intensive large-scale, multiphysics, or time-dependent problems. However, the mere availability of massive compute resources alone is not sufficient. Significant advancements will be required in fundamental algorithms for CFD grounded in applied mathematics, such as improved discretizations, solvers, and techniques for sensitivity analysis. For this vision of high-fidelity analysis and design to become industrially viable, these building blocks must be orchestrated into efficient software frameworks that can extract high performance at scale on future compute hardware.

Thomas Economon, Ph.D.

Thomas Economon, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist

“How do the results of your research become part of solutions "Invented for life"?”

I believe that a successful research program in modeling, simulation, and optimization topics will revolutionize design processes and deliver the next generation of efficient Bosch products for clean water, air, energy, and mobility. This research will not only reduce design cycle time and improve performance for existing products, but also enable entirely new design methodologies for addressing grand challenge problems currently beyond our reach. Bosch is improving the human condition with products that are “Invented for life,” and we are directly supporting that mission through design optimization. Each time we increase the efficiency of a Bosch component, even by just one percent, we are improving the lives of the end user and reducing our impact on the planet.

Get in touch with me

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