Numerical solution of large-scale ground water flow and transport problems is often constrained by the convergence behavior of the iterative solvers used to solve the resulting systems of equations. We demonstrate the ability of an algebraic multigrid algorithm (AMG) to efficiently solve the large, sparse systems of equations that result from computational models of ground water flow and transport in large and complex domains. Unlike geometric multigrid methods, this algorithm is applicable to problems in complex flow geometries, such as those encountered in pore-scale modeling of two-phase flow and transport. We integrated AMG into MODFLOW 2000 to compare two- and three-dimensional flow simulations using AMG to simulations using PCG2, a preconditioned conjugate gradient solver that uses the modified incomplete Cholesky preconditioner and is included with MODFLOW 2000. CPU times required for convergence with AMG were up to 140 times faster than those for PCG2. The cost of this increased speed was up to a nine-fold increase in required random access memory (RAM) for the three-dimensional problems and up to a four-fold increase in required RAM for the two-dimensional problems. We also compared two-dimensional numerical simulations of steady-state transport using AMG and the generalized minimum residual method with an incomplete LU-decomposition preconditioner. For these transport simulations, AMG yielded increased speeds of up to 17 times with only a 20% increase in required RAM. The ability of AMG to solve flow and transport problems in large, complex flow systems and its ready availability make it an ideal solver for use in both field-scale and pore-scale modeling.
Additional publication details
Comparison of an algebraic multigrid algorithm to two iterative solvers used for modeling ground water flow and transport