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What Is The Intersection Between CFD and Computer Science...

And..

How hard would it be to undertake a PHD in CFDs after an undergrad and masters in CompSci

Many Thanks....

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi CompSCI_CFD_PHD and welcome to scicomp! I'm afraid that your first question is a bit too vague. What exactly are you looking for? As for your second question, it is better suited for the Academia SE site. $\endgroup$ – Paul Nov 25 '14 at 2:47
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Re: The Intersection... There's a ton. But a great CFD guy might not offhandedly know basic DAG traversal. And a great CS guy might not offhandedly know about the practical tradeoffs inherent in various classical numerical schemes. Each side can pretty easily learn the other whenever it matters, however.

Re: Difficulty... Depends on the program. You might have trouble in a mechanical engineering department depending on the Ph.D. qualifier requirements as they sometimes expect much more breadth than you would strictly speaking need to complete a dissertation in a well-scoped topic. There are quite a few good computational science programs out there where you could focus on CFD but get a more gradual intro to the required engineering/mathematics/physics.

Re: You Didn't Ask But.... If you decide to go into CFD from a programming background, be sure that there is a straight line from the algorithms/tools you're developing to novel results in an application that a non-CFD fluid dynamicist would care about. It's wayyyyyyyy too easy to spend a lot of time on algorithms/programming/optimization/etc (because it's wicked fun) only to realize you've not got enough physics-related punch to your research results. Also, for the love of all that is holy, don't casually decide to write your own flow solver because the legacy ones around you don't cut the CS mustard. It's an excellent way to fall into the aforementioned trap. Moreso than for most folks, I'd say your advisor choice is crucial.

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An aspect where computer science and computational fluid mechanics intersect is the optimization of code and design of algorithms. From personal experience, the most complicated aspect of CFD for me was numerical analysis (programming) but if you already have a master's in computer science then it shouldn't be too bad.

good luck!

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Physics and Mathematics. It's hard to do well in CFD if you don't understand something of the underlying partial differential equations that you are trying to make the computer simulate. You can pick this up, but you could easily spend the first two years of your PhD getting up to speed.

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  • $\begingroup$ My maths is okay as I took all of my optional modules in Engineering Mathematics this is my level of reading. My physics is not so well developed... $\endgroup$ – CompSci_CFD_PHD Nov 25 '14 at 0:07

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