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Parallelization comparison and optimization of a scale-bridging framework to model Cottrell atmospheres
Low carbon steels undergo strain aging when heat treated, which causes an increased yield strength that can be observed macroscopically. Such strengthening mechanism is driven by atomistic scale processes, i.e., solute segregation of carbon (C) or nitrogen interstitial atoms. Due to its low solubility, alloying elements can diffuse to defects (e.g., dislocations) and form the so-called Cottrell atmospheres. Consequently, the mobility of defects is strongly reduced because of the interaction with solutes, and higher stresses are needed to unpin them from the Cottrell atmosphere. As C segregation and atomistic motion take place at separate timescales, Classical Molecular Dynamics (MD) and Metropolis Monte Carlo (MC) are coupled in a unified framework to capture collective effects with underlying slow dynamics. The number of degrees of freedom and the need for large computational resources in this simulation requires the choice of an optimal parallelization technique for the MC part of such multi-scale simulations using an unbiased sampling of the configuration space. In the present work, two different parallel approaches for the MC routine applied to the simulation of Cottrell atmospheres are implemented and compared: (i) a manager-worker speculative scheme and (ii) a distributed manager-worker over a cell-based domain decomposition approach augmented by an efficient load balancing scheme. The parallel performance of different Fe-C containing defects with several millions of atoms is analyzed, and also the possible optimization of the efficiency of the MC solute segregation process is evaluated regarding energy minimization.