The power of abstraction in Computational Exploration Seismology

TitleThe power of abstraction in Computational Exploration Seismology
Publication TypeConference
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsFelix J. Herrmann, Gerard J. Gorman, Jan Hückelheim, Keegan Lensink, Paul H. J. Kelly, Navjot Kukreja, Henryk Modzelewski, Michael Lange, Mathias Louboutin, Fabio Luporini, Ali Siahkoohi, Philipp A. Witte
Conference NameSmoky Mountains Computational Sciences and Engineering Conference

The field of Computational Exploration Seismology has over the years benefited tremendously from developments in HPC. Back in the 80’s and early 90’s, the oil & gas industry was among the main drivers of HPC technology with a resurgence about ten years ago with the advent of full-waveform inversion-i.e., an adjoint-state method for inverse problems that involve the wave equation. While the combination of hardware developments and tedious manual coding efforts have resulted in major improvements, the rate of innovations is slow in part because of the inherent complexities of the mostly monolithic code bases. As a result, innovations make it too slowly into these optimized codes. This stifles innovation and could prevent adaptation of important developments such as machine learning with deep convolutional neural networks into existing workflows. In comparison, the technological advances in the academic as well as commercial machine learning communities have been much faster in part because of robust and well abstracted code bases such as PyTorch and TensorFlow. Since both machine learning and adjoint-state methods rely on back propagation strong similarities exist ready to be exploited. During my talk, I will discuss lessons we learned in finding the appropriate abstractions, read Domain Specific Language, for time-stepping stencil-based finite differences in Devito, and how this is relevant for machine learning with deep networks. I will also share a vision on how ideas from machine learning can be merged into the development of the next-generation of wave-equation based imaging codes. In particular, I will demonstrate the remarkable ability of deep convolutional networks to map low-fidelity dispersed numerical wave simulations to high-fidelity ones. I feel that this apparently generalizable capability of neural nets opens a complete new approach to tackle fundamental problems in computational exploration seismology.

Citation Keyherrmann2018SMCtpa