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A Parallel Evolution Strategy for an Earth Imaging Problem in Geophysics

Abstract : In this paper we propose a new way to compute a rough approximation solution, to be later used as a warm starting point in a more refined optimization process, for a challenging global optimization problem related to Earth imaging in geophysics. The warm start con- sists of a velocity model that approximately solves a full-waveform inverse problem at low frequency. Our motivation arises from the availability of massively parallel computing plat- forms and the natural parallelization of evolution strategies as global optimization methods for continuous variables.Our first contribution consists of developing a new and efficient parametrization of the velocity models to significantly reduce the dimension of the original optimization space. Our second contribution is to adapt a class of evolution strategies to the specificity of the physical problem at hands where the objective function evaluation is known to be the most expen- sive computational part. A third contribution is the development of a parallel evolution strategy solver, taking advantage of a recently proposed modification of these class of evolu- tionary methods that ensures convergence and promotes better performance under moderate budgets.The numerical results presented demonstrate the effectiveness of the algorithm on a realistic 3D full-waveform inverse problem in geophysics. The developed numerical approach allows us to successfully solve an acoustic full-waveform inversion problem at low frequencies on a reasonable number of cores of a distributed memory computer.
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Youssef Diouane, Serge Gratton, Xavier Vasseur, L. Nunes Vicente, Henri Calandra. A Parallel Evolution Strategy for an Earth Imaging Problem in Geophysics. Optimization and Engineering, Springer Verlag, 2015, pp.1-24. ⟨10.1007/s11081-015-9296-8⟩. ⟨hal-01396146⟩

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