Air pollution modelling using a Graphics Processing Unit with CUDA

F. Molnár, T. Szakály, R. Mészáros, I. Lagzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalComputer Physics Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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