GPUs, a New Tool of Acceleration in CFD: Efficiency and Reliability on Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics Methods

Alejandro C. Crespo, Jose M. Dominguez, Anxo Barreiro, Moncho Gomez-Gesteira, Benedict D. Rogers
EPHYSLAB Environmental Physics Laboratory, Universidade de Vigo, Ourense, Spain
PLoS One. 6(6): e20685, 2011


   title={GPUs, a new tool of acceleration in CFD: Efficiency and reliability on Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics methods},

   author={Crespo, A.C. and Dominguez, J.M. and Barreiro, A. and G{‘o}mez-Gesteira, M. and Rogers, B.D.},



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Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) is a numerical method commonly used in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to simulate complex free-surface flows. Simulations with this mesh-free particle method far exceed the capacity of a single processor. In this paper, as part of a dual-functioning code for either central processing units (CPUs) or Graphics Processor Units (GPUs), a parallelisation using GPUs is presented. The GPU parallelisation technique uses the Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) of nVidia devices. Simulations with more than one million particles on a single GPU card exhibit speedups of up to two orders of magnitude over using a single-core CPU. It is demonstrated that the code achieves different speedups with different CUDA-enabled GPUs. The numerical behaviour of the SPH code is validated with a standard benchmark test case of dam break flow impacting on an obstacle where good agreement with the experimental results is observed. Both the achieved speed-ups and the quantitative agreement with experiments suggest that CUDA-based GPU programming can be used in SPH methods with efficiency and reliability.
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