Firedrake and (adjoint) FEniCS: is automatic parallel simulation a mythical beast?

Dr. David Ham, Imperial College London

1 Nov 2013, 13:00–14:30; Location: S4|10-1

Pushing back the frontiers of simulation technology in science and engineering becomes ever more complex. Better simulations of more realistic systems require greater complexity in both equations and numerics, while the shift from increasing processor speed to massive fine-scale parallelism radically increases the complexity of the software implementation. The result, using conventional software development in low-level languages, is that the creation of simulation software is intricate, error-prone and massively labour-intensive.

In this seminar I will present a radically different approach. By employing multiple layers of abstraction between the hardware and the numerics, the Firedrake project, achieves a high degree of separation of concerns between the applications, numerics, and parallel performance aspects of simulation software development. The scientist or engineer can write equations in a high-level mathematical language, and the parallel implementation for the hardware available (shared and/or distributed memory, CPU or GPU) is automatically generated at runtime.

In addition, the high-level mathematical structure of the code facilitates the automation of reasoning about the model. We have exploited this to automatically produce adjoint simulations which execute in parallel with near-optimal efficiency. This enables engineers and scientists using our systems to move beyond straightforward simulation to advanced design optimisation techniques, error estimation, stability analysis and data assimilation.

Category: CE Seminar


Technische Universität Darmstadt

Graduate School CE
Dolivostraße 15
D-64293 Darmstadt

Phone+49 6151/16-24401
Fax -24404

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