The Spectral-Element Method, Beowulf Computing, and Global Seismology

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Science  29 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5599, pp. 1737-1742
DOI: 10.1126/science.1076024

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The propagation of seismic waves through Earth can now be modeled accurately with the recently developed spectral-element method. This method takes into account heterogeneity in Earth models, such as three-dimensional variations of seismic wave velocity, density, and crustal thickness. The method is implemented on relatively inexpensive clusters of personal computers, so-called Beowulf machines. This combination of hardware and software enables us to simulate broadband seismograms without intrinsic restrictions on the level of heterogeneity or the frequency content.

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