Southern California Earthquake Center researchers are using GPUs to develop a complex model that calculates how earthquake waves move through a 3D model of the Earth. This helps develop earthquake forecasts and more accurate hazard assessments.
SCEC’s initial target is the Los Angeles region, where the Pacific and American tectonic plates run into each other to create the famed San Andreas Fault, which runs the length of California, and adjacent states.
“With more people moving to cities in seismically active regions, economic risks from a devastating earthquake are high and getting higher,” said Yifeng Cui, director of the High Performance Geocomputing Laboratory at the San Diego Supercomputer Center. “GPU capabilities, combined with high-level GPU programming language CUDA, provide the computing power required for acceleration of numerically intensive 3D simulations.”
This spring, the team of collaborators used National Science Foundation and Department of Energy supercomputers — Blue Waters and Titan — to produce the most sophisticated seismic hazard analysis forecast yet for the Southern California region.