Wednesday 26 Feb 2014Inaugural Lecture - the challenge of exascale computing for weather and climate systems: the role of mathematics

Professor Beth Wingate - Mathematics, University of Exeter

Harrison LT 004 (and via video conference Peter Lanyon LT3, Penryn) 17:15-19:00

One of the most important breakthroughs in computational physics was the understanding that 'fast' waves inherent in oscillatory PDEs were the root cause of instability in L.F. Richardson's first numerical calculations. Insight into the physical system and mathematical structure of the equations provided 'reduced' equations that lead to the first successful numerical weather prediction. Contemporary weather and climate models use more complex systems of equations to solve for the dynamics and pay the price by having to decrease the time step with every increase in model resolution.

Because computer processor speeds have increased with time physics that are described by highly oscillatory PDEs have been able to increase the numerical resolution, decrease the time step, but not notice an appreciable increase in wall clock time. This is about to change since emerging exascale computer architectures are expected to have unprecedented degrees of parallelism but not expected to have processor speeds increase as dramatically as they have in the past.

In this talk we will explore how mathematics has led to new ideas for computing highly oscillatory PDEs for next-generation computer architectures and how this leads to new insight into the way we view systems like those that govern atmospheres and oceans.

BETH WINGATE is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Exeter. Her research interests are mainly in fluid mechanics, mathematics, and numerics for high performance computing. Her recent research is focused on physics of the Arctic Ocean, Aymptotic Parallel-in-Time methods for climate modeling and High Performance Computing, and the fluid mechanics of the slow/fast manifolds.

She did her PhD work at the University of Michigan studying numerics, waves and ocean fluid dynamics. She has developed and used spectral element methods including the investigation of near optimal interpolation on triangles with Mark Taylor. She spent many years at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, USA. While there she studied such topics as the LANS-alpha model and overflows. She and her collaborators derived new equations for wave-mean flow in the weak stratification and fast rotation limit which has led to new ideas such as novel investigations of fluctuations from the slow manifold (with Jared Whitehead) and an asymptotic parallel-in-time method for highly oscillatory PDEs on next generation heterogeneous computing architectures (with Terry Haut).

Beth has published poetry in literary journals such as the 'Iowa Review', 'Prairie Schooner', 'Natural Bridge', and others. Her work has also appeared in anthologies such as 'Looking Back to Place' published by Old School Books.

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