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A fully-customized dataflow engine for 3D earthquake simulation with a complex topography

Abstract

With HPC (high performance computing) evolving into the exascale era, improvements in computing performance and power efficiency have become increasingly more important. Based on our previous work on enabling earthquake simulations on a large scale on Sunway TaihuLight, we further explore other possibilities to improve the application through a fully-customized hardware design on reconfigurable FPGA (field programmable gate array) devices. We investigate the feasibility and the potential benefits of a complete fixed-point design. We first perform a coarse-resolution-based simulation to analyze the representation range and precision needed to capture both the total energy and the energy distribution of variables over space and time. We then derive a complete fixed-point design that identifies the suitable bitwidth for major categories of variables and dynamically represents the range through a dynamic scaling scheme. Finally, we use the optimized fixed-point design to run a case of the Wenchuan earthquake to demonstrate the potential of supporting large-scale scientific simulations on FPGA devices. The results demonstrate that an 18-bit fixed-point design already provides an almost identical description of the seismic events in the Wenchuan scenario down to a single-precision floating-point version and provides sustainable performance equivalent to 13.1 Intel Xeon Gold 6154 18-core CPUs or 2.10 Sunway 260-core processors, with performance per watt (power efficiency) improved by 15.3 and 3.72 times compared with the Intel Xeon Gold 6154 18-core CPUs and the Sunway 260-core processors, respectively.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51761135015, U1839206), Center for High Performance Computing and System Simulation, Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (Qingdao), Intel, Maxeler, Xilinx, and the United Kingdom EPSRC (Grant Nos. EP/L016796/1, EP/N031768/1, EP/P010040/1, EP/S030069/1). We would also like to thank Dr. Bastiaan Willem Kwaadgras, Dr. Pavel Burovskiy from Maxeler Technologies, Dr. Wenqiang ZHANG from University of Science and Technology of China, and Prof. Wei ZHANG, Prof. Xiaofei CHEN from Southern University of Science and Technology for their support.

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Correspondence to Haohuan Fu.

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Chen, B., Fu, H., Luk, W. et al. A fully-customized dataflow engine for 3D earthquake simulation with a complex topography. Sci. China Inf. Sci. 65, 152103 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11432-020-2976-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11432-020-2976-5

Keywords

  • reconfigurable computing
  • earthquake simulation
  • FPGA
  • hardware-software co-design
  • architecture exploration