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S. Pautz, T. Pandya, M. L. Adams, "Scalable Parallel Prefix Solvers for Discrete Ordinates Transport," International Conference on Advances in Mathematics, Computational Methods, and Reactor Physics, an international conference sponsored by the ANS, Saratoga, NY, May 3-7, 2009.


The well-known "sweep" algorithm for inverting the streaming-plus-collision term in first-order deterministic radiation transport calculations has some desirable numerical properties. However, it suffers from parallel scaling issues caused by a lack of concurrency. The maximum degree of concurrency, and thus the maximum parallelism, grows more slowly than the problem size for sweeps-based solvers. We investigate a new class of parallel algorithms that involves recasting the streaming-plus-collision problem in prefix form and solving via cyclic reduction. This method, although computationally more expensive at low levels of parallelism than the sweep algorithm, offers better theoretical scalability properties. Previous work has demonstrated this approach for one-dimensional calculations; we show how to extend it to multidimensional calculations. Notably, for multiple dimensions it appears that this approach is limited to long-characteristics discretizations; other discretizations cannot be cast in prefix form. We implement two variants of the algorithm within the radlib/SCEPTRE transport code library at Sandia National Laboratories and show results on two different massively parallel systems. Both the "forward" and "symmetric" solvers behave similarly, scaling well to larger degrees of parallelism then sweeps-based solvers. We do observe some issues at the highest levels of parallelism (relative to the system size) and discuss possible causes. We conclude that this approach shows good potential for future parallel systems, but the parallel scalability will depend heavily on the architecture of the communication networks of these systems.

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Associated Project(s):

  • SHIELD (Smuggled HEU Interdiction through Enhanced anaLysis and Detection): A Framework for Developing Novel Detection Systems Focused on Interdicting Shielded HEU

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