Fast and self-learning indoor airflow simulation based on in situ adaptive tabulation

Wei Tian, Thomas Alonso Sevilla, Dan Li, Wangda Zuo, Michael Wetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Fast simulation for stratified indoor airflow distributions is desired for various applications, such as design of advanced indoor environments, emergency management, and coupled annual energy simulation for buildings with stratified air distributions. Reduced order models trained by pre-computed computational fluid dynamics results are fast, but their prediction may be inaccurate when applied for conditions outside the training domain. To overcome this limitation, we propose a fast and self-learning model based on an in situ adaptive tabulation (ISAT) algorithm, which is trained by a fast fluid dynamics (FFD) model as an example. The idea is that the ISAT will retrieve the solutions from an existing data set if the estimated prediction error is within a pre-defined tolerance. Otherwise, the ISAT will execute the FFD simulation, which is accelerated by running in parallel on a graphics processing unit, for a full-scale simulation. This paper systematically investigates the feasibility of the ISAT for indoor airflow simulations by presenting the ISAT-FFD implementation alongside results related to its overall performance. Using a stratified indoor airflow as an example, we evaluated how the training time of ISAT was impacted by four factors (training methods, error tolerances, number of inputs, and number of outputs). Then we demonstrated that a trained ISAT model can predict the key information for inputs both inside and outside the training domain. The ISAT was able to answer query points both inside and close to training domain using retrieve actions within a time less than 0.001 s for each query. Finally, we provided suggestions for using the ISAT for building applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-112
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Building Performance Simulation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Computer Science Applications


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