WGFEM (War Games for Flood Emergency Managers) is a computer-game like environment that brings the power of parallel computing within the reach of a desktop computer in order to provide an interactive combined flood simulation, mapping and visualization tool that can be used for (1) operational flood simulation, mapping; (2) interactive flood emergency decision making; (3) providing interactive scenario simulation during desktop exercises; and (4) training of homeland security personnel and flood emergency managers.
Until a few years ago, faster-than-real-time simulation and visualization of flood propagation over complex terrain would have been impossible without access to expensive mainframe parallel computing facilities. The recent developments in programmable commodity graphics cards (GPU) brought the parallel computing power to the realm of personal computers.
A GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is a dedicated graphics rendering device on personal computers. GPUs have a highly parallel structure and are specially designed to manipulate and display computer graphics with great efficiency.
WGFEM uses the CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) language to exploit high-speed, shared-memory parallel-computing capability of commodity graphics cards (GPU) to simulate and simultaneously visualize flood propagation at speeds many times faster-than-real-time.