Air pollution modelling using a graphics processing unit with CUDA

Ferenc Molnar Jr., Tamas Szakaly, Robert Meszaros, Istvan Lagzi
Department of Meteorology, Eotvos Lorand University, P.O. Box 32, H-1518 Budapest, Hungary
Comput. Phys. Commun., 181, 105-112, 2010, arXiv:0912.3223 [physics.comp-ph] (16 Dec 2009)


   title={Air pollution modelling using a graphics processing unit with CUDA},

   author={Molnar Jr, F. and Szakaly, T. and Meszaros, R. and Lagzi, I.},

   journal={Computer Physics Communications},








The Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is a powerful tool for parallel computing. In the past years the performance and capabilities of GPUs have increased, and the Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) – a parallel computing architecture – has been developed by NVIDIA to utilize this performance in general purpose computations. Here we show for the first time a possible application of GPU for environmental studies serving as a basement for decision making strategies. A stochastic Lagrangian particle model has been developed on CUDA to estimate the transport and the transformation of the radionuclides from a single point source during an accidental release. Our results show that parallel implementation achieves typical acceleration values in the order of 80-120 times compared to CPU using a single-threaded implementation on a 2.33 GHz desktop computer. Only very small differences have been found between the results obtained from GPU and CPU simulations, which are comparable with the effect of stochastic transport phenomena in atmosphere. The relatively high speedup with no additional costs to maintain this parallel architecture could result in a wide usage of GPU for diversified environmental applications in the near future.
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