Workshop: DisCo: Physics-Based Unsupervised Discovery of Coherent Structures in Spatiotemporal Systems
Abstract: Extracting actionable insight from complex unlabeled scientific data is an open challenge and key to unlocking data-driven discovery in science. Complementary and alternative to supervised machine learning approaches, unsupervised physics-based methods based on behavior-driven theories hold great promise. Due to computational limitations, practical application on real-world domain science problems has lagged far behind theoretical development. However, powerful modern supercomputers provide the opportunity to narrow the gap between theory and practical application. We present our first step towards bridging this divide - DisCo - a high-performance distributed workflow for the behavior-driven local causal state theory. DisCo provides a scalable unsupervised physics-based representation learning method that decomposes spatiotemporal systems into their structurally relevant components, which are captured by the latent local causal state variables. In several firsts we demonstrate the efficacy of DisCo in capturing physically meaningful coherent structures from observational and simulated scientific data. To the best of our knowledge, DisCo is also the first application software developed entirely in Python to scale to over 1000 machine nodes, providing good performance along with ensuring domain scientists' productivity. Our capstone experiment, using newly developed and optimized DisCo workflow and libraries, performs unsupervised spacetime segmentation analysis of CAM5.1 climate simulation data, processing an unprecedented 89.5 TB in 6.6 minutes end-to-end using 1024 Intel Haswell nodes on the Cori supercomputer obtaining 91% weak-scaling and 64% strong-scaling efficiency. This enables us to achieve state-of-the-art unsupervised segmentation of coherent spatiotemporal structures in complex fluid flows.