A Modeling Framework for Optimal Computational Resource Allocation Estimation: Considering the Trade-offs between Physical Resolutions, Uncertainty and Computational Costs

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Mahsa Moslehi1, Felipe de Barros1 and Ram Rajagopal2, (1)University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (2)Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States
Hydrogeological models that represent flow and transport in subsurface domains are usually large-scale with excessive computational complexity and uncertain characteristics. Uncertainty quantification for predicting flow and transport in heterogeneous formations often entails utilizing a numerical Monte Carlo framework, which repeatedly simulates the model according to a random field representing hydrogeological characteristics of the field. The physical resolution (e.g. grid resolution associated with the physical space) for the simulation is customarily chosen based on recommendations in the literature, independent of the number of Monte Carlo realizations. This practice may lead to either excessive computational burden or inaccurate solutions. We propose an optimization-based methodology that considers the trade-off between the following conflicting objectives: time associated with computational costs, statistical convergence of the model predictions and physical errors corresponding to numerical grid resolution.

In this research, we optimally allocate computational resources by developing a modeling framework for the overall error based on a joint statistical and numerical analysis and optimizing the error model subject to a given computational constraint. The derived expression for the overall error explicitly takes into account the joint dependence between the discretization error of the physical space and the statistical error associated with Monte Carlo realizations. The accuracy of the proposed framework is verified in this study by applying it to several computationally extensive examples. Having this framework at hand aims hydrogeologists to achieve the optimum physical and statistical resolutions to minimize the error with a given computational budget. Moreover, the influence of the available computational resources and the geometric properties of the contaminant source zone on the optimum resolutions are investigated. We conclude that the computational cost associated with optimal allocation can be substantially reduced compared with prevalent recommendations in the literature.