Published in Int. J. Numer. Meth. Engng. Vol. 89 (13), pp. 1635-1651, 2011
The solution of problems in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) represents a classical field for the application of advanced numerical methods. Many different approaches were developed over the years to address CFD applications. Good examples are finite volumes, finite differences (FD), and finite elements (FE) but also newer approaches such as the lattice‐Boltzmann (LB), smooth particle hydrodynamics or the particle finite element method. FD and LB methods on regular grids are known to be superior in terms of raw computing speed, but using such regular discretization represents an important limitation in dealing with complex geometries. Here, we concentrate on unstructured approaches which are less common in the GPU world. We employ a nonstandard FE approach which leverages an optimized edge‐based data structure allowing a highly parallel implementation. Such technique is applied to the ‘convection‐diffusion’ problem, which is often considered as a first step towards CFD because of similarities to the nonconservative form of the Navier–Stokes equations. In this regard, an existing highly optimized parallel OpenMP solver is ported to graphics hardware based on the OpenCL platform. The optimizations performed are discussed in detail. A number of benchmarks prove that the GPU‐accelerated OpenCL code consistently outperforms the OpenMP version.