Cheaper and faster: How to have your cake and eat it too with GPU implementations of Earth Science simulations

S.D.C. Walsh, Martin O Saar, P Bailey, David J Lilja

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Many complex natural systems studied in the geosciences are characterized by simple local-scale interactions that result in complex emergent behavior. Simulations of these systems, often implemented in parallel using standard CPU clusters, may be better suited to parallel processing environments with large numbers of simple processors. Such an environment is found in Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) on graphics cards. This presentation discusses graphics card implementations of three example applications from volcanology, seismology, and rock magnetics. These candidate applications involve important modeling techniques, widely employed in physical system simulation: 1) a multiphase lattice-Boltzmann code for geofluidic flows; 2) a spectral-finite-element code for seismic wave propagation simulations; and 3) a least-squares minimization code for interpreting magnetic force microscopy data. Significant performance increases, between one and two orders of magnitude, are seen in all three cases, demonstrating the power of graphics card implementations for these types of simulations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventFall Meeting of the American-Geophysical-Union 2008 - San Francisco, United States of America
Duration: 15 Dec 200819 Dec 2008


ConferenceFall Meeting of the American-Geophysical-Union 2008
Abbreviated titleAGU 2008
CountryUnited States of America
CitySan Francisco

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