IBM releases Amados code base for oil spill modeling

EU ‘Adaptive meshing and data assimilation for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill’ project claimed as ‘new modeling paradigm’.

IBM has released the ‘Amdados’ (adaptive meshing and data assimilation for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill) as open source software under the Boost software license agreement. The Amdados pilot set out to develop ‘data assimilation’ and ‘adaptive meshing’ computing techniques to improve the accuracy of numerical solutions.

During the Deepwater Horizon blowout, the US authorities collected huge volumes of data on the extent and evolution of the oil spill. Previous research is said to have made use of some of the data, but a system that harnesses the full potential of the dataset by integrating it with ‘accurate, adaptive models and meta-models’ is yet to be put in place. The Amdados pilot application combines data assimilation and adaptive meshing techniques with complex models to simulate the Deepwater Horizon accident at an ‘unprecedented’ level of detail.

While advection diffusion codes for transport phenomena (such as oil spills) exist and are well developed, a novel one, that embeds AM-DA and is scalable to harness all the available data, is claimed to improve understanding of the impact of the Deepwater Horizon accident. The initial objective was to model affected areas at 4 meter resolution using the entire NOAA dataset collected during the event. However, the full-scale environmental study (the total volume of modelling outputs over a two-months’ time window involves some 100 Petabytes of data) is not feasible with the current level of compute performance.

The computational costs for a complete model of the spill imply something in the region of one to one hundred ExaFLOPs per time step. The researchers hope that the prototype and open source code base will constitute a benchmark for years to come in terms of both operational response planning and large datasets for environmental analysis. Beyond the Deepwater Horizon incident itself, the planned work, through the use of a coupled DA and AM modelling approach, will ‘create a novel paradigm for operational oil spill response systems, particularly in areas with complex and highly sensitive ecosystems’.

Amados was developed as part of the EU AllScale research and innovation program, endowed with some €3.3 million funding under Horizon 2020 grant agreement No 671603.

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