A Space and Bandwidth Efficient Multicore Algorithm for the Particle-in-Cell Method


The Particle-in-Cell (PIC) method allows solving partial differential equation through simulations, with important applications in plasma physics. To simulate thousands of billions of particles on clusters of multicore machines, prior work has proposed hybrid algorithms that combine domain decomposition and particle decomposition with carefully optimized algorithms for handling particles processed on each multicore socket. Regarding the multicore processing, existing algorithms either suffer from suboptimal execution time, due to sorting operations or use of atomic instructions, or suffer from suboptimal space usage. In this paper, we propose a novel parallel algorithm for two-dimensional PIC simulations on multicore hardware that features asymptotically-optimal memory consumption, and does not perform unnecessary accesses to the main memory. In practice, our algorithm reaches 65% of the maximum bandwidth, and shows excellent scalability on the classical Landau damping and two-stream instability test cases.


Yann Barsamian and Arthur Charguéraud and Alain Ketterlin
PPAM: International Conference on Parallel Processing and Applied Mathematics, September 2017