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Seismic modeling and inversion using half-precision floating-point numbers

Gabriel Fabien-Ouellet
Seismic modeling and inversion using half-precision floating-point numbers
Geophysics (April 2020) 85 (3): F65-F76

Abstract

New processors are increasingly supporting half-precision floating-point numbers, often with a significant throughput gain over single-precision operations. Seismic modeling, imaging, and inversion could benefit from such an acceleration, but it is not obvious how the accuracy of the solution can be preserved with a very narrow 16-bit representation. By scaling the finite-difference expression of the isotropic elastic wave equation, we have found that a stable solution can be obtained despite the very narrow dynamic range of the half-precision format. We develop an implementation with the CUDA platform, which, on most recent graphics processing units (GPU), is nearly twice as fast and uses half the memory of the equivalent single-precision version. The error on seismograms caused by the reduced precision is shown to correspond to a negligible fraction of the total seismic energy and is mostly incoherent with seismic phases. Finally, we find that this noise does not adversely impact full-waveform inversion nor reverse time migration, which both benefit from the higher throughput of half-precision computation.


ISSN: 0016-8033
EISSN: 1942-2156
Coden: GPYSA7
Serial Title: Geophysics
Serial Volume: 85
Serial Issue: 3
Title: Seismic modeling and inversion using half-precision floating-point numbers
Affiliation: Polytechnique de Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada
Pages: F65-F76
Published: 20200415
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 22
Accession Number: 2020-041658
Categories: Applied geophysics
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2020, 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: 2020
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