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Modelling and Simulation in Engineering
Volume 2008, Article ID 937542, 10 pages
Research Article

Open-Source Software in Computational Research: A Case Study

1National Energy Technology Laboratory, P.O. Box 880, Morgantown, WV 26507, USA
2Aeolus Research Inc., 18 Cecil Drive, Dunbar, PA 15431, USA
3Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Building 6012, MS-6367, RM-101, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA

Received 11 February 2008; Accepted 11 March 2008

Academic Editor: Andreas Tolk

Copyright © 2008 Madhava Syamlal et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A case study of open-source (OS) development of the computational research software MFIX, used for multiphase computational fluid dynamics simulations, is presented here. The verification and validation steps required for constructing modern computational software and the advantages of OS development in those steps are discussed. The infrastructure used for enabling the OS development of MFIX is described. The impact of OS development on computational research and education in gas-solids flow, as well as the dissemination of information to other areas such as geophysical and volcanology research, is demonstrated. This study shows that the advantages of OS development were realized in the case of MFIX: verification by many users, which enhances software quality; the use of software as a means for accumulating and exchanging information; the facilitation of peer review of the results of computational research.