Intel® Parallel Computing Center at Southern California Earthquake Center - University of California, San Diego

Published:01/22/2016   Last Updated:01/18/2018


Principal Investigator:

Dr. Yifeng CuiDr. Yifeng Cui is Director of the High Performance GeoComputing Laboratory at SDSC and an adjunct professor at San Diego State University. Cui helped establish the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) as a world leader in advancing HPC activities in earthquake research. His groundbreaking work, in collaboration with SCEC led by Dr. Thomas Jordan, enabled TeraShake and M8, simulating some worst-case scenarios on the San Andreas Fault revealing order-of-magnitude LA wave-guide amplification. His research work is supported by NSF and DOE large allocations. Cui earned his Ph.D. from the University of Freiburg, Germany.


The Intel® Parallel Computing Center at SDSC for Earthquake Simulation will be an interdisciplinary research center in collaboration with the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), designed to modernize a highly scalable 3D earthquake modeling environment called AWP-ODC for the latest multi-core Intel® Xeon™ processors and many-core, self-hosted, next-generation Intel® Xeon Phi™ processor architectures. This sustainable computing effort is dictated by the need to broaden the frequency range of deterministic wave propagation simulations to account for frequencies up to 10-Hz. Such high-frequency wave propagation simulations will allow us to study the effects of nonlinearity in surface waves, which have been predicted to cause the strongest shaking in the Los Angeles basin during large earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault. The primary goal of the software development is to integrate the modernized code elements into a software ecosystem used by SCEC for production size of physics-based seismic hazard analysis in the U.S. and elsewhere.

California comprises about three-quarters of the nation’s long-term earthquake risk, and Southern California accounts for nearly 50% of the national annualized earthquake loss. The 1994 M6.7 Northridge earthquake alone caused a financial loss of $20 billion, along with 9,000 injuries. Realistic, physics-based earthquake ground motion computational models can inform broad impact decision-makers, helping to identify effective ways to reduce seismic risk. The use of next-generation Intel® Xeon Phi™ processors offers the prospect to decisively broaden the frequency band covered by such simulations, allowing researchers to predict ground motions at frequencies relevant for common dwellings (2-10 Hz). Advanced computational methods capable of improving the scalability, performance, sustainability, resilience, and power efficiency of the code, as well as scientific progression including inelastic and/or nonlinear wave propagation alternatives, will enhance the results of forward wave propagation simulations. This Earth system science research work, coordinated by SCEC Director Dr. Thomas Jordan, will translate basic research into practical products for reducing risk while improving community resilience. Software developed and disseminated through this partnership with SCEC will be available as open source to the research community. The project will motivate and educate a diverse scientific workforce, from the undergraduate to early-career levels that can integrate system science with HPC.

In addition to project co-PI Dr. Thomas Jordan of USC, other co-PIs of this Intel® PCC are Dr. Alexander Breuer of SDSC, Dr. Daniel Roten of SDSU, and Dr. Jeffrey Chen of UCR.


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