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Title: Parallel multiscale contact dynamics for rigid non-spherical bodies
Author: Krestenitis, Konstantinos
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 5643
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2018
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The simulation of large numbers of rigid bodies of non-analytical shapes or vastly varying sizes which collide with each other is computationally challenging. The fundamental problem is the identification of all contact points between all particles at every time step. In the Discrete Element Method (DEM), this is particularly difficult for particles of arbitrary geometry that exhibit sharp features (e.g. rock granulates). While most codes avoid non-spherical or non-analytical shapes due to the computational complexity, we introduce an iterative-based contact detection method for triangulated geometries. The new method is an improvement over a naive brute force approach which checks all possible geometric constellations of contact and thus exhibits a lot of execution branching. Our iterative approach has limited branching and high floating point operations per processed byte. It thus is suitable for modern Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) CPU hardware. As only the naive brute force approach is robust and always yields a correct solution, we propose a hybrid solution that combines the best of the two worlds to produce fast and robust contacts. In terms of the DEM workflow, we furthermore propose a multilevel tree-based data structure strategy that holds all particles in the domain on multiple scales in grids. Grids reduce the total computational complexity of the simulation. The data structure is combined with the DEM phases to form a single touch tree-based traversal that identifies both contact points between particle pairs and introduces concurrency to the system during particle comparisons in one multiscale grid sweep. Finally, a reluctant adaptivity variant is introduced which enables us to realise an improved time stepping scheme with larger time steps than standard adaptivity while we still minimise the grid administration overhead. Four different parallelisation strategies that exploit multicore architectures are discussed for the triad of methodological ingredients. Each parallelisation scheme exhibits unique behaviour depending on the grid and particle geometry at hand. The fusion of them into a task-based parallelisation workflow yields promising speedups. Our work shows that new computer architecture can push the boundary of DEM computability but this is only possible if the right data structures and algorithms are chosen.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available