GPU driven finite difference WENO scheme for real time solution of the shallow water equations

P. Parna (Lead / Corresponding author), K. Meyer, R. Falconer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The shallow water equations are applicable to many common engineering problems involving modelling of waves dominated by motions in the horizontal directions (e.g. tsunami propagation, dam breaks). As such events pose substantial economic costs, as well as potential loss of life, accurate real-time simulation and visualization methods are of great importance. For this purpose, we propose a new finite difference scheme for the 2D shallow water equations that is specifically formulated to take advantage of modern GPUs. The new scheme is based on the so-called Picard integral formulation of conservation laws combined with Weighted Essentially Non-Oscillatory reconstruction. The emphasis of the work is on third order in space and second order in time solutions (in both single and double precision). Further, the scheme is well-balanced for bathymetry functions that are not surface piercing and can handle wetting and drying in a GPU-friendly manner without resorting to long and specific case-by-case procedures. We also present a fast single kernel GPU implementation with a novel boundary condition application technique that allows for simultaneous real-time visualization and single precision simulations even on large ( > 2000 × 2000) grids on consumer-level hardware - the full kernel source codes are also provided online at

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-120
Number of pages14
JournalComputers and Fluids
Early online date21 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2018


  • Finite difference
  • Picard integral
  • Shallow water
  • WENO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Engineering


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