Research interests

Numerical methods for seismic wave propagation, applications to High-Performance Computing
Waveform-based seismic adjoint tomography, validation of global and regional seismic models
Seismic source verification and 3D source inversions

The main motivation for pursuing my research interests in computational seismology is to obtain increasingly realistic simulations of ground motion and to improve images of Earth’s interior. The trend to faster calculations is due to astonishing advances in high-performance computing. This trend was complemented by the rapid deployment of digital seismographic networks. Academic institutions are exploiting these developments, which have lead to important new insights, e.g., into Earth’s internal structure and earthquake source physics.

I am fascinated by numerically solving physical wave phenomena and combining it with state-of-the-art tomographic techniques. During the last few years I spent a large amount of time focussing on seismic wave propagation and regional to global tomography. Most recently, I was enhancing spectral-element software for regional and global seismic wave propagation. This work involved code optimization to increase computational speed (SPECFEM3D_GLOBE), as well as the implementation of a new, more flexible fluid and elastic domain solver (SPECFEM3D), which couples pressure waves in fluids with seismic waves in elastic materials.

All this work was done together with a lot of very smart people. The codes are freely available at We also use the global code to produce synthetics and movies in near-real time for CMT earthquakes which can be seen at

You will find more details about my research group here: Seismic Modeling and Inversion (SMI). Currently, I'm assistant professor in the Earth Sciences and Engineering (ErSE) Program within the Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Division at KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology), Saudi Arabia. Additionally, I'm affiliated to the Extreme Computing Research Center (ECRC), focussing on computational simulations and algorithms for high-performance computing in seismology.

Previous support came from the Swiss Platform for Advanced Scientific Computing (PASC), where I was responsible for the application support of the HPC network 'Solid Earth Dynamics'.

Daniel Peter

current address:

Seismic Modeling and Inversion (SMI) research group
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)
Al-Khawarizmi Building 1, Office 0146
Thuwal 23955-6900
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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