Domain Decomposition of Solid-Liquid Flows

Leigh Little

Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota, 4-192 EE/CS Building, 200 Union Street S.E., Minneapolis, MN, 55455


The direct numerical simulation of solid-liquid flows is a computational challenge that has received much attention recently. Such problems are of interest in modeling of environmental systems and industrial applications like oil refining. The use of iterative solution methods in these problems is mandated by the enormous size of the resulting linear systems.

We present a domain decomposition solution technique for two-dimensional solid-liquid flows. This approach makes use of PSPARSLIB, a portable library for the parallel solution of linear systems. The main concerns in this problem are how to perform domain decomposition in the presence of the particles and how to precondition the resulting linear systems. This work concentrates on partitioning strategies.

Domain decomposition is hindered in this case by the presence of the particles. The density of the unstructured mesh tends to follow the particles. The technique of overlaying a two-dimensional processor grid over the computational domain will generally provide poor load balancing since the particles can move to any location in the domain and they are frequently packed closely together. In addition, for simulations with large numbers of particles, splitting a particle across subdomains is difficult to avoid. If a particle is shared between too many subdomains, a degradation in the parallel efficiency is observed.

Various techniques to overcome these obstacles are currently being examined. In order to effectively deal with variations in grid density, we have developed a simple one-dimensional partitioning strategy that is effective. The idea is to group the finite elements into bins based on the x-coordinate of the centroid. Once this is done, the elements in each bin are sorted in order of increasing y-coordinate. An approximate number of elements per domain (NED) is computed from the total number of elements and processors. The contents of the bins are then traversed, associating each element with a processor until the accumulated number of elements reaches NED. At this point the processor number is increased and the traversing continues. The benefit of this technique is that it naturally follows the density of the grid. Preliminary experiments indicate that this approach provides partitionings that perform as well as partitionings provided by Metis. While the bin-sorting approach takes more time than Metis, it requires less memory.

Another obstacle is how to account for the presence of the particles. The current particle simulator uses a projection technique developed by Maury and Glowinski. This results in a symmetric saddle point problem with a positive definite matrix in the (1,1) block. However, the projection step requires information about the particle and all finite elements connected to it. When particles are closely packed, there are usually no elements between particles, hence, a given particle may require information from many adjacent particles in addition to all the associated elements. A large amount of data will need to be communicated should a particle be split between two or more subdomains. This can degrade speed-up and scalability. We are examining several approaches to particle distribution. The first is to create a layer of structured elements on each particle to ensure that there is always at least one fluid element between particles. This allows a particle to be isolated on one processor and eliminates the need to communicate information directly between particles, but also increases the mesh density. The second idea is, should a particle be split between two or more subdomains, to duplicate the particle and all elements attached to it on each of the subdomains. The reduces the amount of data that must be communicated during the assembly of the local matrices, but also increases the amount of overlap between domains. The last idea is a generalization of the previous one. Rather than overlap the particles and elements, only the particle centers are overlapped. This necessitates some communication while assembling the local matrices, but greatly reduces the amount of overlap. The preliminary experiments indicate that of these, the second option performs best.

A variant of PSPARSLIB is used to solve the linear systems. The two solution approaches we have attempted so far are an Additive Schwarz algorithm with ILUT preconditioning on each subdomain and a Schur complement technique. The latter approach consists of an Additive Schwarz algorithm on the nodes that are interior to each processor and a GMRES iteration on the interface unknowns.

We will present results comparing the effectiveness of these partitioning strategies.

This work is supported by NSF under NSF grant NSF/CTS 9873236 and by the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute.