Section: Research Program

High performance computing

Methods for sensitivity analysis, parameter estimation and risk assessment are extremely costly due to the necessary number of model evaluations. This number of simulations require considerable computational resources, depends on the complexity of the application, the number of input variables and desired quality of approximations. To this aim, the AIRSEA team is an intensive user of HPC computing platforms, particularly grid computing platforms. The associated grid deployment has to take into account the scheduling of a huge number of computational requests and the links with data-management between these requests, all of these as automatically as possible. In addition, there is an increasing need to propose efficient numerical algorithms specifically designed for new (or future) computing architectures and this is part of our scientific objectives. According to the computational cost of our applications, the evolution of high performance computing platforms has to be taken into account for several reasons. While our applications are able to exploit space parallelism to its full extent (oceanic and atmospheric models are traditionally based on a spatial domain decomposition method), the spatial discretization step size limits the efficiency of traditional parallel methods. Thus the inherent parallelism is modest, particularly for the case of relative coarse resolution but with very long integration time (e.g., climate modeling). Paths toward new programming paradigms are thus needed. As a step in that direction, we plan to focus our research on parallel in time methods.

New numerical algorithms for high performance computing Parallel in time methods can be classified into three main groups. In the first group, we find methods using parallelism across the method, such as parallel integrators for ordinary differential equations. The second group considers parallelism across the problem. Falling into this category are methods such as waveform relaxation where the space-time system is decomposed into a set of subsystems which can then be solved independently using some form of relaxation techniques or multigrid reduction in time. The third group of methods focuses on parallelism across the steps. One of the best known algorithms in this family is parareal. Other methods combining the strengths of those listed above (e.g., PFASST) are currently under investigation in the community.

Parallel in time methods are iterative methods that may require a large number of iteration before convergence. Our first focus will be on the convergence analysis of parallel in time (Parareal / Schwarz) methods for the equation systems of oceanic and atmospheric models. Our second objective will be on the construction of fast (approximate) integrators for these systems. This part is naturally linked to the model reduction methods of section (7.2.1). Fast approximate integrators are required both in the Schwarz algorithm (where a first guess of the boundary conditions is required) and in the Parareal algorithm (where the fast integrator is used to connect the different time windows). Our main application of these methods will be on climate (i.e., very long time) simulations. Our second application of parallel in time methods will be in the context of optimization methods. In fact, one of the major drawbacks of the optimal control techniques used in 3.4 is a lack of intrinsic parallelism in comparison with ensemble methods. Here, parallel in time methods also offer ways to better efficiency. The mathematical key point is centered on how to efficiently couple two iterative methods (i.e., parallel in time and optimization methods).