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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Parallel and scalable block system generation

  • Author(s): Gardner, M
  • Kolb, J
  • Sitar, N
  • et al.

© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Generating a realistic representation of a fractured rock mass is a first step in many different analyses. Field observations need to be translated into a 3-D model that will serve as the input for these analyses. The block systems can contain hundreds of thousands to millions of blocks of varying sizes and shapes; generating these large models is very computationally expensive and requires significant computing resources. By taking advantage of the advances made in big data analytics and Cloud Computing, we have a developed an open-source program—SparkRocks—that generates block systems in parallel. The application runs on Apache Spark which enables it to run locally, on a compute cluster or the Cloud. The block generation is based on a subdivision and linear programming optimization as introduced by Boon et al. (2015). SparkRocks automatically maintains load balance among parallel processes and can be scaled up on the Cloud without having to make any changes to the underlying implementation, enabling it to generate real-world scale block systems containing millions of blocks in minutes.

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