A 1.8 trillion degrees-of-freedom, 1.24 petaflops global seismic wave simulation on the K computer

Seiji Tsuboi, Kazuto Ando, Takayuki Miyoshi, Daniel Peter, Dimitri Komatitsch, Jeroen Tromp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


We present high-performance simulations of global seismic wave propagation with an unprecedented accuracy of 1.2 s seismic period for a realistic three-dimensional Earth model using the spectral element method on the K computer. Our seismic simulations use a total of 665.2 billion grid points and resolve 1.8 trillion degrees of freedom. To realize these large-scale computations, we optimize a widely used community software code to efficiently address all hardware parallelization, especially thread-level parallelization to solve the bottleneck of memory usage for coarse-grained parallelization. The new code exhibits excellent strong scaling for the time stepping loop, that is, parallel efficiency on 82,134 nodes relative to 36,504 nodes is 99.54%. Sustained performance of these computations on the K computer is 1.24 petaflops, which is 11.84% of its peak performance. The obtained seismograms with an accuracy of 1.2 s for the entire globe should help us to better understand rupture mechanisms of devastating earthquakes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-422
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of High Performance Computing Applications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture


  • K computer
  • Seismic wave propagation
  • numerical seismograms
  • spectral element method


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