SCEC Scores Large-scale HPC Allocations

Snapshot of a magnitude 7.6 earthquake with rupture propagation and resulting wavefield at the surface computed by the dynamic rupture code SORD along a vertically dipping strike-slip fault with superimposed fault roughness. Credit: Y. Wang and C. Goulet,

Great news on the high-performance computing (HPC) front: this summer, SCEC researchers working on large-scale seismological simulations received several large HPC allocations. HPC is an important part of SCEC’s past, present, and future earthquake system science research program so we are delighted to report these successes. Three major allocations were obtained this summer:

  • 472,500 Service Units (SUs) on Summit at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and 783,000 SUs on Cori at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center obtained from the Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) Department of Energy program.
  • 1 million SUs annually on Expanse, a recent addition to the San Diego Supercomputer Center (our new Core institution), as part of their partnership with SCEC.
  • 980,000 SUs on Frontera at the Texas Advanced Computing Center through the Large-Scale Community Partnerships (LSCP) program from NSF

Earthquake research and HPC allocations

Most types of U.S. infrastructure, from individual buildings to distributed infrastructure (energy, water, transportation) are subject to potential damage from earthquake ground motions and/or near-surface fault displacements. The timing and spatial distribution of ground motions also has a big impact on the damage of distributed systems, for which component failures can paralyze the whole system. Seismological simulations support research on these fronts, supplementing empirical datasets and allowing extrapolation for earthquakes we haven’t yet experienced. Knowledge gained from these simulations are aimed at supporting more effective engineering designs that reduce financial losses and human casualties due to earthquakes. In addition to their potential for broader societal impacts, the simulations produced through these activities will stimulate years of scientific and engineering research, contributing to improved science and design innovation. Simulations are used, for example, to validate community models summarizing different data sets, to study the dynamics of earthquake ruptures, to study spatio-temporal seismicity patterns, and for several other topics of seismological interest.