The general purpose of CGNS is to provide a standard for recording and recovering computer data associated with the numerical solution of the equations of fluid dynamics.
CGNS consists of a collection of conventions, and software implementing those conventions, for the storage and retrieval of CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) data. The system consists of two parts: (1) a standard format for recording the data, and (2) software that reads, writes, and modifies data in that format. The format is a conceptual entity established by the documentation, and is intended to be general, portable, expandable, and durable. The software is a physical product supplied to enable developers to access and produce data recorded in that format. All CGNS software is completely free and open to anyone.
The CGNS standard, applied through the use of the supplied software, is intended to:
The principal target of CGNS is data normally associated with compressible viscous flow (i.e., the Navier-Stokes equations), but the standard is also applicable to subclasses such as Euler and potential flows. The CGNS standard addresses the following types of data.
Much of the standard and the software is applicable to computational field physics in general. Disciplines other than fluid dynamics would need to augment the data definitions and storage conventions, but the fundamental database software, which provides platform independence, is not specific to fluid dynamics.