Computational efficiency of full waveform inversion algorithms

Ryan Modrak, Jeroen Tromp

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


For managing computational cost in full waveform inversion (FWI), attention to the details of the underlying nonlinear optimization procedure is essential. Here, we performed experiments with a variety of waveform inversion test problems. A quasi-Newton algorithm provided the best performance in all cases. Nonlinear conjugate gradient methods were less efficient and less robust, requiring occasional restarting to avoid numerical problems. Truncated Newton and Gauss "Newton methods, which can be implemented in a matrix-free manner to avoid assembling the Hessian or Jacobian, are shown to be cost-competitive for time domain waveform inversion" outperforming nonlinear conjugate gradient algorithms, though not yet outperforming quasi-Newton algorithms. Given the possibility of combining newly demonstrated computational efficiency with previously reported robustness, truncated Newton algorithms might one day surpass quasi-Newton algorithms as the method of choice for large-scale seismic inversions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4838-4842
Number of pages5
JournalSEG Technical Program Expanded Abstracts
StatePublished - 2015
EventSEG New Orleans Annual Meeting, SEG 2015 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Oct 18 2011Oct 23 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geophysics


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