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Computational Particle Mechanics

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 553–577 | Cite as

A comprehensive study of MPI parallelism in three-dimensional discrete element method (DEM) simulation of complex-shaped granular particles

  • Beichuan YanEmail author
  • Richard A. Regueiro
Article

Abstract

A three-dimensional (3D) DEM code for simulating complex-shaped granular particles is parallelized using message-passing interface (MPI). The concepts of link-block, ghost/border layer, and migration layer are put forward for design of the parallel algorithm, and theoretical scalability function of 3-D DEM scalability and memory usage is derived. Many performance-critical implementation details are managed optimally to achieve high performance and scalability, such as: minimizing communication overhead, maintaining dynamic load balance, handling particle migrations across block borders, transmitting C++ dynamic objects of particles between MPI processes efficiently, eliminating redundant contact information between adjacent MPI processes. The code executes on multiple US Department of Defense (DoD) supercomputers and tests up to 2048 compute nodes for simulating 10 million three-axis ellipsoidal particles. Performance analyses of the code including speedup, efficiency, scalability, and granularity across five orders of magnitude of simulation scale (number of particles) are provided, and they demonstrate high speedup and excellent scalability. It is also discovered that communication time is a decreasing function of the number of compute nodes in strong scaling measurements. The code’s capability of simulating a large number of complex-shaped particles on modern supercomputers will be of value in both laboratory studies on micromechanical properties of granular materials and many realistic engineering applications involving granular materials.

Keywords

Parallelism Discrete element Granular materials Complex-shaped MPI Granularity 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the support provided by ONR MURI Grant N00014-11-1-0691 and the DoD High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) for granting us the computing resources required to conduct this work. This work also utilized the Janus supercomputer, which is supported by the National Science Foundation (Award Number CNS-0821794) and the University of Colorado Boulder.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© OWZ 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural EngineeringUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA

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