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Flow Science Adds Support for 64-bit Processing

64-bit logos

Flow Science announces the availability of FLOW-3D for Windows and Linux 64-bit operating systems on Intel Xeon™ x86-64 and AMD Opteron™ processors, and for Windows 64-bit operating system on Intel Itanium 2 processors. With 64-bit support, users will be able to build large simulations exceeding the traditional limits of 32-bit memory. These new platforms will be supported for both serial FLOW-3D and the multi-processor version for shared-memory workstations


'32-bit' and '64-bit' refer to the number of bits (the smallest unit of information recognized by a computer) that can be processed, or the number of bits used for single element of data. A 32-bit CPU can process data and memory addresses that are represented by 32 bits. A 64-bit processor, therefore, refers to a processor that stores and uses 64-bit numbers. In simplistic terms, 64-bit architecture doubles the amount of data that a CPU can process per clock cycle. This translates into performance increase because a 64-bit CPU can support more memory and larger files.

One of the most attractive features of 64-bit processors is the large amount of memory the system can address. 64-bit architecture allows systems to address up to 1 terabyte (1,000GB) of memory. With traditional 32-bit systems, users are limited to 4GB of RAM.

While 64-bit processors will run 32-bit operating systems, the advantages of the 64-bit architecture are not fully realized in this mode. To take full advantage of the power of 64-bit CPUs, users need a 64-bit-capable operating system. The dominant PC operating system, Microsoft's Windows, has recently upgraded to enable 64-bit processing for both x86 chips (Xeon™ and Opteron™) as well as Intel's Itanium 2 chip. Meanwhile, several vendors of Linux operating systems, such as SUSE and RedHat, have also released 64-bit versions.


Presently, Flow Science can make FLOW-3D Version 9.0 for these supported Windows and Linux 64-bit operating systems available to any user in maintenance who requests it. When it is released, Version 9.1 of FLOW-3D will include all these installations on the distribution disks. The compilers required for users that wish to customize FLOW-3D are noted in our Hardware Requirements Section.

On Windows IA64, users will be able to use a natively-compiled 64-bit GUI, which will allow more efficient building and post-processing of these large simulations. Flow Science is waiting on GUI toolkit vendor support for 64-bit Windows on Xeon™ and Opteron™ and for 64-bit Linux on SUSE and RedHat.