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SUSTech Prof. Chen Xiaofei's team project on Earthquake Simulation receives ACM Gordon Bell Award

Nov 19, 2017 Research

The Global Supercomputing Conference (SC2017) was held in Denver, USA on November 17 2017, and the "Nonlinear Earthquake Simulation" project – led by a team including SUSTech Professors Chen Xiaofei and Zhang Zhenguo of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences – was awarded the ACM Gordon Bell Prize, the highest award in the field of high performance computing application.

Earthquake simulation tools can be used to reproduce and predict the process of earthquake occurrence. It is an important tool for scientists to understand the physical laws of earthquake occurrence and propagation and plays an important role in reducing and preventing the huge losses caused by earthquake disasters. For engineers, the results of earthquake simulations can be combined with other technologies to rationally plan and design various infrastructures in the area with high potentialility of earthquake happening to enhance the safety of urban planning and take preventive measures.

The traditional numerical simulation of large-scale earthquake is limited by the bottleneck of computing power, and the spatial resolution is not high enough to calculate high-frequency seismic waves. However, accurate modelling of the Earth’s medium requires relatively small grid to describe the detailed features. The winning team, with the help of the powerful computing ability of the Sunway TaihuLight, optimized the seismic simulation tools, and achieved the strong ground motion simulations of the 1976 Great Tangshan earthquake up to 18 Hz and spatial resolution of 8 m under the ultimate capacity of the Sunway parallel machine. This is the first time in world that such a large-scale, high-resolution, high-frequency seismic simulation is carried out, enabling the scientists to better understand the impact caused by major earthquakes by numerical simulation tools. This work has important implications for the earthquake prevention and hazard mitigation.

This achievement was accomplished by a team composed of members from SUSTech, Tsinghua University, University of Science and Technology of China, Shandong University, National Research Center for Parallel Computer Engineering and Technology, and National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi.

The results were published in this year's Global Supercomputing Conference. "18.9-Pfls Nonlinear Earthquake Simulation on Sunway Taihu Light: Enabling Depiction of 18-Hz and 8-Meter Scenarios", authored by Associate Professor Fu Haohuan from Tsinghua University. Fu Haohuan, He Conghui, Xue Wei, Chen Xiaofei are the corresponding authors, and Zhang Zhenguo, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at SUSTech as well as the visiting student from the University of Science and Technology of China Zhang Wenqiang.

Gordon Bell Award

In high-performance computing applications, the highest award possible is the "Gordon Bell" Award which was established in 1987 by the American Computer Society in November each year in the United States. It is awarded during the world-class conference and is presented to reward the cutting-edge parallel computing researches, especially the excellent achievements of original application in the HPC field.

Winning paper link:

Source: Department of Earth and Space Sciences
Translated by: Jeremy Welburn

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