Rice University

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Thesis Defense

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Computational and Applied Mathematics

Speaker: Arturo Vargas
Doctoral Candidate

Hermite Methods for the Simulation of Wave Propagation

Monday, March 27, 2017
9:00 AM  to 11:00 AM

1049  Duncan Hall


Simulations of wave propagation play a crucial role in science and engineering. In applications of geophysics they are the engine of many seismic imaging algorithms. For electrical engineers they can be a useful tool for the design of radars and antennas. For these applications achieving high fidelity simulations is challenging due to the inherent issues in modeling highly oscillatory waves and the associated cost of high resolution simulations. Thus the ideal numerical method should be able to capture high frequency waves and be suitable for parallel computing. In both seismic applications and computational electromagnetics the Yee scheme, a finite difference time domain (FDTD) method, is the method of choice for structured grids. The scheme has the benefit of being easy to implement but performs poorly in the presence of high frequency waves. High order accurate FDTD methods may be derived but ultimately rely on neighboring grid points when approximating derivatives; for parallel implementations this leads to communication between processes. In contrast to FDTD methods, the Hermite methods of Goodrich and co-authors (2006) use Hermite interpolation and a staggered (dual) grid to construct high order accurate numerical methods for first order hyperbolic equations. These methods achieve high order approximations in both time and space by reconstructing local polynomials within cells of the computational domain and employing Hermite-Taylor time stepping. The resulting schemes are able to evolve the solution locally within a cell making them ideal for parallel computing. Building on the original Hermite methods this thesis focuses on two goals: (1) the development of new Hermite methods and (2) their implementation on modern computing architectures. To accomplish the first objective, this thesis presents two variations of Hermite methods which are designed to simplify the scheme while preserving the favorable features. The first variation is a family of Hermite methods which do not require a dual grid. These methods eliminate the need of storing dual coefficients while maintaining optimal convergence rates. The second type of variation are Hermite methods which use leapfrog time-stepping. These schemes propagate the solution with less computation than the original scheme and may be used for either first or second order equations. To address the second objective, this thesis presents algorithms which take advantage of the many-core architecture of graphics processing units (GPU). As three-dimensional simulations can easily exceed the memory of a single GPU, techniques for partitioning the data across multiple GPUs are presented. Finally, this thesis presents numerical results and performance studies which confirm the accuracy and efficiency of the proposed Hermite methods for linear and nonlinear wave equations.

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