ACM Gordon Bell Prize
United States – 2015



An Extreme-Scale Implicit Solver for Complex PDEs: Highly Heterogeneous Flow in Earth's Mantle

Trailblazing Approach to Modeling Earth’s Geological Processes Wins Gordon Bell Prize

Team Employs a Number of New Advances to Make Extreme Scalability Possible

Austin, Texas, November 20, 2015 – A 10-member team led by Johann Rudi of the University of Texas at Austin are the recipients of the 2015 ACM Gordon Bell Prize for their entry entitled An Extreme-Scale Implicit Solver for Complex PDEs: Highly Heterogeneous Flow in Earth's Mantle. The winning team includes representatives from the University of Texas at Austin, IBM Corporation, California Institute of Technology and the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University. The ACM Gordon Bell Prize tracks the progress of parallel computing and rewards innovation in applying high performance computing to challenges in science, engineering, and large-scale data analytics. The award was bestowed during SC15 ( in Austin, Texas.

 The group's submission demonstrates that, contrary to conventional wisdom, implicit solvers can be designed that enable efficient global convection modeling of the earth's interior, allowing researchers to gain new insights into the geological evolution of the planet.

The team presented a solver which can process difficult partial differential equations (PDEs) at an extreme scale to predict activity in the earth's mantle and that scales up to half a million cores. By effectively modeling these processes, scientists can better understand the dynamics that produce earthquakes and related natural disasters. Mantle convection is just one application in the physical sciences wherein processing difficult PDEs at an extreme scale would be useful.

Team members include Costas Bekas (IBM), Alessandro Curioni (IBM), Omar Ghattas (University of Texas at Austin), Michael Gurnis (California Institute of Technology), Yves Ineichen (IBM), Tobin Isaac (University of Texas at Austin), Cristiano Malossi (IBM), Johann Rudi (University of Texas at Austin), Georg Stadler (Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences), and Peter W.J. Staar (IBM).

Innovations from advanced scientific computing have far-reaching impact in many areas of science and society, from accurately predicting storms and other weather phenomena, to economic forecasts and developing new pharmaceuticals. The annual SC conference brings together scientists, engineers and researchers from around the world for an outstanding week of technical papers, timely research posters, tutorials and Birds-of-a-Feather (BOF) sessions.


 Gordon Bell 2015 Press Release