Performance Optimisation of Inertial Confinement Fusion Codes using Mini-applications

Robert F. Bird*, Patrick Gillies, Michael R. Bareford, Andy Herdman, Stephen Jarvis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Despite the recent successes of nuclear energy researchers, the scientific community still remains some distance from being able to create controlled, self-sustaining fusion reactions. Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) techniques represent one possible option to surpass this barrier, with scientific simulation playing a leading role in guiding and supporting their development. The simulation of such techniques allows for safe and efficient investigation of laser design and pulse shaping, as well as providing insight into the reaction as a whole. The research presented here focuses on the simulation code EPOCH, a fully relativistic particle-in-cell plasma physics code concerned with faithfully recreating laser-plasma interactions at scale. A significant challenge in developing large codes like EPOCH is maintaining effective scientific delivery on successive generations of high-performance computing architecture. To support this process, we adopt the use of mini-applications – small code proxies that encapsulate important computational properties of their larger parent counterparts. Through the development of a mini-application for EPOCH (called miniEPOCH), we investigate a variety of the performance features exhibited in EPOCH, expose opportunities for optimisation and increased scientific capability, and offer our conclusions to guide future changes to similar ICF codes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-581
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of High Performance Computing Applications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is supported in part by the EPSRC grant ‘‘A Radiation Hydrodynamic ALE Code for Laser Fusion Energy’’ (EP/I029117/1), by The Royal Society, through their Industry Fellowship Scheme (IF090020/AM) and by AWE through the Warwick-hosted Centre for Computational Plasma Physics. Use of ARCHER was supported by several Resource Allocation Panel (RAP) awards, including ‘‘High-level Abstractions for Performance, Portability and Continuity of Scientific Software on Future Computing

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2016.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture


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