Supercomputing Moves Closer to Predicting Earthquakes

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Pioneering simulation of the 1992 7.3M Landers earthquake

Pioneering simulation of the 1992 7.3M Landers earthquake

Over at Intel Labs, Divya Kolar writes that researchers are working on seismic simulations that could one day predict earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Working in close collaboration with Intel Labs Parallel Computing Lab, performing a series of architecture-aware optimizations, the team was able to scale the complexity of science and sustained performance to an unprecedented level. SeisSol sustained 8.6 PFLOPS (double precision), almost equivalent 8.6 quadrillion calculations per second when processing seismic wave phenomena using half of the Tianhe-2 supercomputer (only half of the system was made available to the team), implying almost 18 PFLOPS for the full Tianhe-2 machine. This amounts to the highest-ever sustained application-level performance for any supercomputing platform. Equally noteworthy is the overall time-to-solution boost credited to the Intel® Xeon Phi ™ coprocessor used in Tianhe-2 system. The SuperMUC and the Tinahe-2 supercomputers have comparable size: 8192 nodes of Intel Xeon with Intel Xeon Phi on Tianhe-2 versus 9216 nodes of Intel Xeon on SuperMUC. About 8x more peak performance of the Tianhe-2 machine improved overall time-to-solution for the 1992 Landers earthquake simulation scenario by about 2.7x!

In this video from ISC’14, Alex Heinecke from Intel and Sebastian Rettenberger from the Technical University of Munich describe their award-winning paper on volcano simulation. The 2014 PRACE ISC Award winning paper was entitled: Sustained Petascale Performance of Seismic Simulations with SeisSol on SuperMUC.

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In related news, Intel researchers together with scientists at the Technical University of Munich and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich have been chosen as finalists for the prestigious 2014 Gordon Bell Prize.