Google Research

DCGrid: An Adaptive Grid Structure for Memory-Constrained Fluid Simulation on the GPU

  • Wouter Raateland
  • Torsten Hädrich
  • Jorge Amador Herrera
  • Daniel Banuti
  • Wojciech Pałubicki
  • Sören Pirk
  • Klaus Hildebrandt
  • Dominik L. Michels
ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics and Games (2022) (to appear)


Grid-based fluid simulations are often limited in resolution by their high memory usage and computational costs. One approach to reducing memory usage and computational costs is to vary the grid resolution over the spatial domain. We introduce DCGrid, a new data structure for fluid simulations. DCGrid is suited for instantiation in GPU memory and allows for varying resolution over the spatial domain. We developed an efficient, optimization-based method for local mesh refinement that automatically adapts the grid resolution according to user-defined parameters during simulations. Additionally, we complement our data structure with an efficient scheme for approximate handling of collisions between fluid and static solids on cells with varying resolutions. We integrate DCGrid in a cloud simulation and extend a terrain-atmosphere interaction model to work with cells of varying resolution and rapidly changing conditions. Furthermore, we demonstrate the performance of our new methods on both simple simulations of smoke flow and complex simulations of weather phenomena and compare them to similar fluid simulations on state-of-the-art adaptive grid structures.

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