Fast Simulation of Large-Scale Floods Based on GPU Parallel Computing

Qiang Liu, Yi Qin, Guodong Li
Key Laboratory of the North-West Water Resources and Ecology Environment, Ministry of Education, Xi’an University of Technology, Xi’an 710048, China
Water, 10(5), 589, 2018


   author={Liu, Qiang and Qin, Yi and Li, Guodong},

   title={Fast Simulation of Large-Scale Floods Based on GPU Parallel Computing},










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Computing speed is a significant issue of large-scale flood simulations for real-time response to disaster prevention and mitigation. Even today, most of the large-scale flood simulations are generally run on supercomputers due to the massive amounts of data and computations necessary. In this work, a two-dimensional shallow water model based on an unstructured Godunov-type finite volume scheme was proposed for flood simulation. To realize a fast simulation of large-scale floods on a personal computer, a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)-based, high-performance computing method using the OpenACC application was adopted to parallelize the shallow water model. An unstructured data management method was presented to control the data transportation between the GPU and CPU (Central Processing Unit) with minimum overhead, and then both computation and data were offloaded from the CPU to the GPU, which exploited the computational capability of the GPU as much as possible. The parallel model was validated using various benchmarks and real-world case studies. The results demonstrate that speed-ups of up to one order of magnitude can be achieved in comparison with the serial model. The proposed parallel model provides a fast and reliable tool with which to quickly assess flood hazards in large-scale areas and, thus, has a bright application prospect for dynamic inundation risk identification and disaster assessment.
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