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Parallel Octree-Based Finite Element Method for Large-Scale Earthquake Ground Motion Simulation

J. Bielak1, O. Ghattas2, E.-J. Kim3

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA.
Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.

Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences 2005, 10(2), 99-112.


We present a parallel octree-based finite element method for large-scale earthquake ground motion simulation in realistic basins. The octree representation combines the low memory per node and good cache performance of finite difference methods with the spatial adaptivity to local seismic wavelengths characteristic of unstructured finite element methods. Several tests are provided to verify the numerical performance of the method against Green's function solutions for homogeneous and piecewise homogeneous media, both with and without anelastic attenuation. A comparison is also provided against a finite difference code and an unstructured tetrahedral finite element code for a simulation of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. The numerical tests all show very good agreement with analytical solutions and other codes. Finally, performance evaluation indicates excellent single-processor performance and parallel scalability over a range of 1 to 2048 processors for Northridge simulations with up to 300 million degrees of freedom.


Cite This Article

Bielak, J., Ghattas, O., Kim, E. (2005). Parallel Octree-Based Finite Element Method for Large-Scale Earthquake Ground Motion Simulation. CMES-Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences, 10(2), 99–112.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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