08 Feb 2023
 | 08 Feb 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Leveraging Google’s Tensor Processing Units for tsunami-risk mitigation planning in the Pacific Northwest and beyond

Ian Madden, Simone Marras, and Jenny Suckale

Abstract. Tsunami-risk and flood-risk mitigation planning has particular importance for communities like those of the Pacific Northwest, where coastlines are extremely dynamic and a seismically-active subduction zone looms large. The challenge does not stop here for risk managers: mitigation options have multiplied since communities have realized the viability and benefits of nature-based solutions. To identify suitable mitigation options for their community, risk managers need the ability to rapidly evaluate several different options through fast and accessible tsunami models, but may lack high-performance computing infrastructure. The goal of this work is to leverage the newly developed Google's Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), a high-performance hardware accessible via the Google Cloud framework, to enable the rapid evaluation of different tsunami-risk mitigation strategies available to all communities. We establish a starting point through a numerical solver of the nonlinear shallow-water equations that uses a fifth-order Weighted Essentially Non-Oscillatory method with the Lax-Friedrichs flux splitting, and a Total Variation Diminishing third-order Runge-Kutta method for time discretization. We verify numerical solutions through several analytical solutions and benchmarks, reproduce several findings about one particular tsunami-risk mitigation strategy, and model tsunami runup at Crescent City, California whose topography comes from a high-resolution Digital Elevation Model. The direct measurements of the simulations performance, energy usage, and ease of execution show that our code could be a first step towards a community-based, user-friendly virtual laboratory that can be run by a minimally trained user on the cloud thanks to the ease of use of the Google Cloud Platform.

Ian Madden et al.

Status: open (until 06 Apr 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-116', Ilhan Özgen-Xian, 27 Feb 2023 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-116', Anonymous Referee #2, 28 Mar 2023 reply

Ian Madden et al.

Model code and software

tsunamiTPUlab Ian Madden, Simone Marras, and Jenny Suckale

Ian Madden et al.


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Short summary
To aid risk managers who may wish to rapidly assess tsunami-risk but may lack high-performance computing infrastructure, we provide an accessible software package able to rapidly model tsunami inundation over real topography by leveraging Google's Tensor Processing Unit, a high-performance hardware. Minimally trained users can take advantage of the rapid modeling abilities provided by this package via a web browser thanks to the ease of use of Google Cloud Platform.