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Accurate load balancing accelerates Lagrangian simulation of water ages on distributed, multi-GPU platforms
  • Reed M. Maxwell,
  • Richard Valent
Princeton University

Corresponding Author:yangchen.cug@163.com

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Reed M. Maxwell
Princeton University
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Richard Valent
National Center for Atmospheric Research
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Water age is a fundamental descriptor of source, storage, and mixing of water parcels in a watershed. The Lagrangian, particle tracking, approach is a powerful tool for physically-based modeling of water age distributions, but its application has been hampered since it is computationally demanding. In this study, we present a parallel approach for particle tracking simulations. This approach uses multi-GPU with MPI parallelism based on domain decomposition. An inherent challenge of distributed parallelization of Lagrangian approaches is the disparity in computational work or load imbalance (LIB) among different processing elements (PEs). Here, load balancing (LB) schemes were proposed to dynamically balance the distribution of particles across PEs during runtime. In the followed hillslope simulations, LIB was observed in all LB-disabled runs, e.g., with a load ratio of 423.62% by using 2-GPU in LW_Shrub case. LB schemes then accurately balanced the load distribution and improved the parallel scaling. Additionally, the parallel approach showed excellent overall speedup: a 60-fold improvement using 4-GPU relative to the serial run. A regional scale application further demonstrated the LB performance. The parallel time used by 8-GPU without LB was 31.33% reduced after LB was activated. When increasing 8-GPU with LB to 16-GPU with LB, it showed parallel scalability by reducing the parallel time of ~50%. This work shows how massively parallel computing can be applied to particle tracking in water age simulations. It also demonstrates the practical importance of load balancing in this context, which enables the large-scale simulations with an increased complexity of flow paths.