Air Pollution Modelling Using a Graphics Processing Unit with CUDA

F. Molnár Jr. 1, T. Szakály 1, R. Mészáros 1, I. Lagzi 1,2

1Department of Meteorology, Eötvös Loránd University, P.O. Box 32, H-1518 Budapest, Hungary
2Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA


The Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is a powerful tool for parallel computing. In the past years the performance and capabilities of GPUs have increased, and the Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) - a parallel computing architecture - has been developed by NVIDIA to utilize this performance in general purpose computations. Here we show for the first time a possible application of GPU for environmental studies serving as a basement for decision making strategies. A stochastic Lagrangian particle model has been developed on CUDA to estimate the transport and the transformation of the radionuclides from a single point source during an accidental release. Our results show that parallel implementation achieves typical acceleration values in the order of 80-120 times compared to CPU using a single-threaded implementation on a 2.33 GHz desktop computer. Only very small differences have been found between the results obtained from GPU and CPU simulations, which are comparable with the effect of stochastic transport phenomena in atmosphere. The relatively high speedup with no additional costs to maintain this parallel architecture could result in a wide usage of GPU for diversified environmental applications in the near future.


Video card; Parallel computing; CUDA; Environmental application; Air pollution


This paper has been accepted by Computational Physics Communications.
DOI: 10.1016/j.cpc.2009.09.008


TREX Lagrangian simulator
Copyright (C) 2009 Ferenc Molnar, Jr.; Tamas Szakaly; Robert Meszaros; Istvan Lagzi

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Ferenc Molnár Jr.:
Tamás Szakály:
Róbert Mészáros:
István László Lagzi: