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Title: Genetic programming and cellular automata for fast flood modelling on multi-core CPU and many-core GPU computers
Author: Gibson, Michael John
ISNI:       0000 0004 5922 2134
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2015
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Many complex systems in nature are governed by simple local interactions, although a number are also described by global interactions. For example, within the field of hydraulics the Navier-Stokes equations describe free-surface water flow, through means of the global preservation of water volume, momentum and energy. However, solving such partial differential equations (PDEs) is computationally expensive when applied to large 2D flow problems. An alternative which reduces the computational complexity, is to use a local derivative to approximate the PDEs, such as finite difference methods, or Cellular Automata (CA). The high speed processing of such simulations is important to modern scientific investigation especially within urban flood modelling, as urban expansion continues to increase the number of impervious areas that need to be modelled. Large numbers of model runs or large spatial or temporal resolution simulations are required in order to investigate, for example, climate change, early warning systems, and sewer design optimisation. The recent introduction of the Graphics Processor Unit (GPU) as a general purpose computing device (General Purpose Graphical Processor Unit, GPGPU) allows this hardware to be used for the accelerated processing of such locally driven simulations. A novel CA transformation for use with GPUs is proposed here to make maximum use of the GPU hardware. CA models are defined by the local state transition rules, which are used in every cell in parallel, and provide an excellent platform for a comparative study of possible alternative state transition rules. Writing local state transition rules for CA systems is a difficult task for humans due to the number and complexity of possible interactions, and is known as the ‘inverse problem’ for CA. Therefore, the use of Genetic Programming (GP) algorithms for the automatic development of state transition rules from example data is also investigated in this thesis. GP is investigated as it is capable of searching the intractably large areas of possible state transition rules, and producing near optimal solutions. However, such population-based optimisation algorithms are limited by the cost of many repeated evaluations of the fitness function, which in this case requires the comparison of a CA simulation to given target data. Therefore, the use of GPGPU hardware for the accelerated learning of local rules is also developed. Speed-up factors of up to 50 times over serial Central Processing Unit (CPU) processing are achieved on simple CA, up to 5-10 times speedup over the fully parallel CPU for the learning of urban flood modelling rules. Furthermore, it is shown GP can generate rules which perform competitively when compared with human formulated rules. This is achieved with generalisation to unseen terrains using similar input conditions and different spatial/temporal resolutions in this important application domain.
Supervisor: Keedwell, Edward C. ; Savic, Dragan Sponsor: EPSRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: GPU - Graphics Processing Unit ; Genetic Programming ; Cellular Automata