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Adaptive dynamic load-balancing with irregular domain decomposition for particle simulations
We present a flexible and fully adaptive dynamic load-balancing scheme, which is designed for particle simulations of three-dimensional systems with short ranged interactions. The method is based on domain decomposition with non-orthogonal non-convex domains, which are constructed based on a local repartitioning of computational work between neighbouring processors. Domains are dynamically adjusted in a flexible way under the condition that the original topology is not changed, i.e. neighbour relations between domains are retained, which guarantees a fixed communication pattern for each domain during a simulation. Extensions of this scheme are discussed and illustrated with examples, which generalise the communication patterns and do not fully restrict data exchange to direct neighbours. The proposed method relies on a linked cell algorithm, which makes it compatible with existing implementations in particle codes and does not modify the underlying algorithm for calculating the forces between particles. The method has been implemented into the molecular dynamics community code IMD and performance has been measured for various molecular dynamics simulations of systems representing realistic problems from materials science. It is found that the method proves to balance the work between processors in simulations with strongly inhomogeneous and dynamically changing particle distributions, which results in a significant increase of the efficiency of the parallel code compared both to unbalanced simulations and conventional load-balancing strategies.