Enhancing Efficiency of the RRTMG Radiation Code with Graphics Processing Units in the Weather Research and Forecasting Model

Monday, May 12, 2014 - 07:00
Add to Calendar

The RRTMG radiative transfer options in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model have been modified to demonstrate improvement in computational performance of the radiation physics that can be attained using Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) technology. New versions of the longwave and shortwave RRTMG codes have been developed (with support from NASA) and then implemented and tested within WRF for this project on a GPU-enabled computer system (caldera) at NCAR. This system uses Intel Xeon (Sandybridge) processors, it has two NVIDIA Tesla M2070-Q GPUs per node, and it supports the PGI compilers that are currently necessary to run the GPU-accelerated codes using CUDA Fortran. Although the radiation models have been restructured for this application, the high accuracy of the radiative transfer is shown to be unaffected. In order to fully utilize the potential of the GPU processing, the codes were transformed from operating on a single atmospheric column per call to running in parallel on multiple threads on the GPU over blocks of horizontal grid cells, vertical layers, and the RRTMG pseudo-spectral g-point dimension. In stand-alone mode, the GPU-accelerated radiation codes are also faster on the NCAR system relative to the original codes for a large set of profiles, though the speed-up is dependent on the specific GPU hardware on caldera. Further enhancement is potentially attainable with newer GPU hardware. The specific improvement in computational performance of the restructured RRTMG radiation options attained within WRF and the negligible impact on forecasts will be demonstrated.