[petsc-dev] exascale applications and PETSc usefulness

Oxberry, Geoffrey Malcolm oxberry1 at llnl.gov
Thu Sep 8 13:36:34 CDT 2016


I did not see the final proposal. Most of the approaches I saw in the
planning stages on the LLNL side involved internal codes (e.g., ALE3D,
DIABLO); depending on the code, finite element or finite volume
discretizations are used. Finite element approaches were more commonly
suggested. As far as I can tell, PETSc is not used as a library inside
these codes, although PETSc is used on-site in at least one other

I don't develop these codes, so I cannot speak to why specifically PETSc
is not used, and I only use one or two of them, so I can’t speak much to
specifics regarding time stepper/nonlinear solver/preconditioner/linear
solver combinations.

What I can say fairly confidently is that because few scalable
optimization solver frameworks exist, and because PETSc does see some
internal use, it is easier to convince my colleagues to use PETSc for
optimization than other alternatives. I have less expertise in PDE solving
than my colleagues, and thus less influence in that area than in

LCL is currently used in one LLNL application that I know of, but it is
cumbersome because LCL cannot directly model general nonlinear constraints
containing only design variables. As I understand it, my colleagues
manually penalized the constraints that cannot be modeled directly using
LCL, and then use LCL to solve a sequence of penalized problems. It is not
clear to me how they determine good values of penalty parameters. If an
algorithm that computes a sequence of these penalty parameters such that
solving the corresponding LCL subproblems yields a sequence of feasible
solutions converging to a KKT point, that algorithm is a (possibly
application-specific) nonlinear programming solver. Implementing
production-ready nonlinear programming solvers capable of modeling these
constraints would help us do more science per unit time by reducing the
developer effort needed to produce the science. It’s probable that these
algorithms also have better convergence properties, which would help us
produce higher quality science as well.


On 9/8/16, 7:07 PM, "Munson, Todd" <tmunson at mcs.anl.gov> wrote:

>How are they modeling and solving their PDEs?
>>> 	€ Transforming Additive Manufacturing through Exascale Simulation
>>> (TrAMEx), John Turner (ORNL) with LLNL, LANL, NIST
>> PETSc did not come up in TrAMEx meetings I was involved in, and I do not
>> believe it will be used. I will try to find out if plans have changed.
>> could be useful, and maybe the new stuff Todd is planning to add to TAO
>> will help. In its current form, we simply can¹t model the nonlinear
>> programs we would need to solve using the production-ready solvers in
>> without kludging something together. Such a kludge would not be a robust
>> implementation. TAOIPM could work in principle, but my impression is
>> it still needs work. Some of the SQP stuff I was working on in PETSc
>> started to address this gap also; my goal is to clean that up by the

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