Using High-Performance Computing to Support Water Resource Planning

A Workshop Demonstration of Real-Time Analytic Facilitation for the Colorado River Basin

by David G. Groves, Robert J. Lempert, Deborah W. May, James R. Leek, James Syme

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In November 2014, experts from the RAND Corporation and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory conducted a one-day workshop to explore the impact of using high-performance computing to support stakeholder real-time multiscenario deliberations over natural resource management planning. The workshop, employing Robust Decision Making (RDM) methods in support of a process of deliberation with analysis, revisited work RAND conducted for the Colorado River Basin in 2012 and was attended by decisionmakers involved in the original study and others interested in advancing the state of the art in quantitative decision support. In the course of the workshop, participants developed five new project portfolios that were then evaluated over about 12,000 alternative futures using high-performance computers — a process that would have taken weeks to complete using traditional computer clusters. This document summarizes workshop results and the observations attendees made about the benefits and challenges associated with using high-performance computing in this context.

This research is the result of a collaboration between the High Performance Computing Innovation Center (HPCIC) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the RAND Infrastructure Resilience and Environmental Policy Program within the RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment, and is a part of the LLNL/RAND Partnership for Computational Policy Analysis.

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