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The devil truly is in the detail; a cautionary note on computational determinism; implications for structural geology numerical codes and interpretation of their results

Stuart Hardy
The devil truly is in the detail; a cautionary note on computational determinism; implications for structural geology numerical codes and interpretation of their results (in Balancing, restoration, and palinspastic reconstruction, Oskar Vidal-Royo (prefacer), Thomas E. Hearon (prefacer), Christopher D. Connors (prefacer), Stuart Bland (prefacer), Frauke Schaefer (prefacer), Oriol Ferrer (prefacer), Andres Mora (prefacer), Jose de Vera (prefacer), Chris A. Guzofski (prefacer), Fernando Rodriguez (prefacer), Eric Jean-Philippe Blanc (prefacer) and Alan Vaughan (prefacer))
Interpretation (Tulsa) (November 2015) 3 (4): SAA29-SAA35

Abstract

The widespread use of numerical modeling codes in structural geology, particularly in forward modeling of crustal deformation, has brought valuable insight into many processes such as fault initiation and propagation, fold growth, and orogenic wedge development. Whether commercial, open source, or the result of an individual researcher's endeavor, such numerical codes increasingly rely on advanced compiler optimizations and/or parallelization techniques. This is done to maximize performance on today's multicore processors and thus achieve tractable model runtimes. However, such speed and productivity can come at a price. Many optimization and parallelization techniques used do indeed produce remarkable runtime speedups, but at the expense of determinism and reproducibility. Most researchers are only tangentially aware of these issues. I have aimed to explain why numerical model runs with identical sets of initial and boundary conditions can potentially produce different results and thus, sensu stricto, be nondeterministic. I have developed some solutions and guidelines for maintaining determinism and evaluated these issues using a discrete element code of upper crustal deformation. Implications for the interpretation and use of such model results in structural geology were also evaluated.


ISSN: 2324-8858
EISSN: 2324-8866
Serial Title: Interpretation (Tulsa)
Serial Volume: 3
Serial Issue: 4
Title: The devil truly is in the detail; a cautionary note on computational determinism; implications for structural geology numerical codes and interpretation of their results
Title: Balancing, restoration, and palinspastic reconstruction
Author(s): Hardy, Stuart
Author(s): Vidal-Royo, Oskarprefacer
Author(s): Hearon, Thomas E., IVprefacer
Author(s): Connors, Christopher D.prefacer
Author(s): Bland, Stuartprefacer
Author(s): Schaefer, Fraukeprefacer
Author(s): Ferrer, Oriolprefacer
Author(s): Mora, Andresprefacer
Author(s): de Vera, Joseprefacer
Author(s): Guzofski, Chris A.prefacer
Author(s): Rodriguez, Fernandoprefacer
Author(s): Blanc, Eric Jean-Philippeprefacer
Author(s): Vaughan, Alanprefacer
Affiliation: Institucio Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avancats, Barcelona, Spain
Affiliation: Midland Valley Exploration, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Pages: SAA29-SAA35
Published: 201511
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 10
Accession Number: 2016-007506
Categories: Structural geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table, sects.
Secondary Affiliation: ConocoPhillips, USA, United StatesWashington and Lee University, USA, United StatesCairn Energy, GBR, United KingdomWintershall, DEU, GermanyUniversitat de Barcelona, ESP, SpainInstituto Columbiano de del Petroleo, COL, ColombiaShell, USA, United StatesChevron, USA, United StatesBHP Billiton, USA, United StatesStatoil, NOR, Norway
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 201604
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