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Date:  Wednesday, August 04, 2021
Location:  Zoom: Passcode: 762093 Virtual (2:00 PM to 4:00 PM)

Title:  Dissertation Defense: Fast Solvers and Simulation Data Compression Algorithms for Granular Media and Complex Fluid Flows

Abstract:   Granular and particulate flows are common forms of materials used in various physical and industrial applications. For instance, we model the soil as a collection of rigid particles with frictional contact in soil-vehicle simulations, and we simulate bacterial colonies as active rigid particles immersed in a viscous fluid. Due to the complex interactions in-between the particles and/or the particles and the fluid, numerical simulations are often the only way to study these systems apart from typically expensive physical experiments.

A standard method for simulating these systems is to apply simple physical laws to each of the particles using the discrete element method (DEM) and evolve the resulting multibody system in time. However, due to the sheer number of particles in even a moderate-scale real-world system, it quickly becomes expensive to timestep these systems unless we exploit fast algorithms and high-performance computing techniques. For instance, a big challenge in granular media simulations is resolving contact between the constituent particles. We use a cone-complementarity formulation of frictional contact to resolve collisions; this approach leads to a quadratic optimization problem whose solution gives us the contact forces between particles at each timestep. In this thesis, we introduce strategies for solving these optimization problems on distributed memory machines. In particular, by imposing a locality-preserving partitioning of the rigid bodies among the computing nodes, we minimize the communication cost and construct a scalable framework for collision detecting and resolution that can be easily scaled to handle hundreds of millions of particles.

For robust and efficient simulation of axisymmetric particles in viscous fluids, we introduce a fast method for solving Stokes boundary integral equations (BIEs) on surfaces of revolution. By first transforming the Stokes integral kernels into a rotationally invariant form and then decoupling the transformed kernels using the Fourier series, we reduce the dimensionality of the problem. This approach improves the time complexity of the BIE solvers by an order of magnitude; additionally, we can use high-order one-dimensional singular quadrature schemes to construct highly accurate solvers. Finally, coupling our solver framework with the fast multipole method, we construct a fast solver for simulating Stokes flow past a system of axisymmetric bodies. Combining this with our complementarity collision resolution framework, we have the potential to simulate dense particulate suspensions.

Physics-based simulations similar to those described above generate large amounts of output data, often in the hundreds of gigabytes range. We introduce data compression techniques based on the tensor-train decomposition for DEM simulation outputs and demonstrate the high compressibility of these large datasets. This allows us to keep a reduced representation of simulated data for post-processing or use in learning tasks.

Finally, due to the high cost of physics-based models and limited computational budget, we can typically run only a limited number of simulations when exploring a high-dimensional parameter space. Formally, this can be posed as a matrix/tensor completion problem, and Bayesian inference coupled with a linear factorization model is often used in this setup. We use Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods to sample from the unnormalized posteriors in these inference problems. In this thesis, we explore the properties of the posterior in a simple low-rank matrix factorization setup and develop strategies to break its symmetries. This leads to better quality MCMC samples and lowers the reconstruction errors with various synthetic and real-world datasets.


Speaker:  Saibal De
Institution:  UM

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