Working With Incremental Spatial Data During Parallel (GPU) Computation

Robert Chisholm
The University of Sheffield, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Computer Science
The University of Sheffield, 2020


   title={Working With Incremental Spatial Data During Parallel (GPU) Computation},

   author={Chisholm, Robert},


   school={University of Sheffield}


Central to many complex systems, spatial actors require an awareness of their local environment to enable behaviours such as communication and navigation. Complex system simulations represent this behaviour with Fixed Radius Near Neighbours (FRNN) search. This algorithm allows actors to store data at spatial locations and then query the data structure to find all data stored within a fixed radius of the search origin. The work within this thesis answers the question: What techniques can be used for improving the performance of FRNN searches during complex system simulations on Graphics Processing Units (GPUs)? It is generally agreed that Uniform Spatial Partitioning (USP) is the most suitable data structure for providing FRNN search on GPUs. However, due to the architectural complexities of GPUs, the performance is constrained such that FRNN search remains one of the most expensive common stages between complex systems models. Existing innovations to USP highlight a need to take advantage of recent GPU advances, reducing the levels of divergence and limiting redundant memory accesses as viable routes to improve the performance of FRNN search. This thesis addresses these with three separate optimisations that can be used simultaneously. Experiments have assessed the impact of optimisations to the general case of FRNN search found within complex system simulations and demonstrated their impact in practice when applied to full complex system models. Results presented show the performance of the construction and query stages of FRNN search can be improved by over 2x and 1.3x respectively. These improvements allow complex system simulations to be executed faster, enabling increases in scale and model complexity.
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