QSL Squasher: A Fast Quasi-Separatrix Layer Map Calculator

Svetlin Tassev, Antonia Savcheva
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
arXiv:1609.00724 [astro-ph.SR], (2 Sep 2016)


   title={QSL Squasher: A Fast Quasi-Separatrix Layer Map Calculator},

   author={Tassev, Svetlin and Savcheva, Antonia},






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Quasi-Separatrix Layers (QSLs) are a useful proxy for the locations where current sheets can develop in the solar corona, and give valuable information about the connectivity in complicated magnetic field configurations. However, calculating QSL maps even for 2-dimensional slices through 3-dimensional models of coronal magnetic fields is a non-trivial task as it usually involves tracing out millions of magnetic field lines with immense precision. Thus, extending QSL calculations to three dimensions has rarely been done until now. In order to address this challenge, we present QSL Squasher — a public, open-source code, which is optimized for calculating QSL maps in both two and three dimensions on GPUs. The code achieves large processing speeds for three reasons, each of which results in an order-of-magnitude speed-up. 1) The code is parallelized using OpenCL. 2) The precision requirements for the QSL calculation are drastically reduced by using perturbation theory. 3) A new boundary detection criterion between quasi-connectivity domains is used, which quickly identifies possible QSL locations which need to be finely sampled by the code. That boundary detection criterion relies on finding the locations of abrupt field-line length changes, which we do by introducing a new Field-line Length Edge (FLEDGE) map. We find FLEDGE maps useful on their own as a quick-and-dirty substitute for QSL maps. QSL Squasher allows constructing high-resolution 3D FLEDGE maps in a matter of minutes, which is two orders of magnitude faster than calculating the corresponding 3D QSL maps. We include a sample of calculations done using QSL Squasher to demonstrate its capabilities as a QSL calculator, as well as to compare QSL and FLEDGE maps.
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