Octavio Castillo

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Biography

I am a postdoctoral researcher at "Geosciences applications group" in the CASE department of the BSC-CNS. I hold a PhD in Computer Architecture from Polytechnic University of Catalunya (UPC - 2017) rated with Excellent Cum Laude International Mention. My PhD thesis was focused on electromagnetic methods in geophysics and its numerical modeling using novel HPC algorithms in Python.
 
My research focuses on numerical methods applied to geophysics and their parallel programming in supercomputing architectures. As main results of my research arises 4 international research stays (Finland, France and USA), 12 peer-reviewed papers, more than 30 international conferences, and the PETGEM code (http://petgem.bsc.es) of which I am the main developer. PETGEM is a new HPC tool for electromagnetic modeling that is currently used by the "Department de Geodinàmica y Geofísica" (University of Barcelona), the "Fusion group" (BSC-CNS), and the "Geosciences applications group" (BSC-CNS). In 2017 I was awarded with the JCC2015-BSC prize: “Your Thesis in Three Minutes” (3TM).
 
I am member of the National System of Researchers of CONACyT (Candidate level), member of the Mexican Supercomputing Network, and member of "Red de Talentos Mexicanos en el Exterior" chapter Barcelona where I work as technology development consultant. Furthermore, I am part-time associate professor at Department of Computer Architecture (DAC) of the UPC.

Education

2013 - 2017 | Doctor of Philosophy in Computer ArchitecturePhD Thesis: "Edge–elements formulation of 3D CSEM in geophysics: a parallel approach". Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), Barcelona, Spain.

2008 - 2011 | Master in networks and telelecommunications. Master Thesis: "Performance evaluation of AODV & DSDV routing protocols in a wireless sensor network for structural health monitoring". Atenas Veracruzana University (UAV),  Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico.
 
2003 - 2007 | Bachelor degree in computational systems engineer. Bachelor's Thesis: "Feasibility analysis for the migration of network services used in USBI Xalapa". Xalapa Institute of Technology (ITSX),  Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico.

Research

Electromagnetic modeling and HPC geophysical applications
 
Electromagnetic methods (EM) are an invaluable research tool in geophysics whose relevance has increased rapidly in recent years due to its wide industrial adoption. In particular, the forward modelling of three-dimensional marine controlled-source electromagnetics (3D CSEM FM) has become an important technique for reducing ambiguities in the interpretation of geophysical datasets through mapping conductivity variations
in the subsurface. As a consequence, the 3D CSEM FM has real application in many areas such as hydrocarbon and mineral exploration, reservoir monitoring, CO2 storage characterization, geothermal reservoir imaging and many others due to there quantities often displaying conductivity contrasts with respect to their surrounding sediments. However, the 3D CSEM FM at real scale implies a numerical challenge that requires an important computational effort, often too high for modest multicore computing architectures, especially if it fuels an inversion process. In this regard, the 3D CSEM FM is a key application that can benefit strongly from algorithmic and computational improvements.
 
On the other hand, although the High-performance Computing (HPC) code development is dominated by compiled languages, the popularity of high-level languages for scientific computations has increased considerably. Among all of them, Python is probably the language that has shown more interest, mainly because of flexibility and its simple and clean syntax. However, its use for HPC geophysical applications is still limited, which suggests a path for research, development and improvement.
 
On top of that,  my research work focuses on numerical methods applied to geophysics and their parallel programming in supercomputing architectures. More concretely, I research and develop flexible and efficient HPC algorithms for electromagnetic modeling and inversion in the geophysics context. The net result of this effort is the PETGEM code (http://petgem.bsc.es) of which I am the main developer. PETGEM is a new HPC tool for electromagnetic modeling based on the edge finite element method (including high-order variants). Furthermore, I am interested in wave modeling using pseudospectral methods.

Teaching

2018 - 2020 | Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC, Barcelona, Spain). Barchelor in informatics engineering:
  • Introduction to computers
  • Computer architecture
  • Structure of computers
2019 | Pompeu Fabra University (UPF Barcelona, Spain). Barchelor in informatics engineering:
  • Introduction to parallel and distributed programming
2011 - 2013 | University of Veracruz (UV, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico). Barchelor in administrative computer systems:
  • Analysis of algorithms
  • Computer architecture
  • Distributed systems
  • Applied mathematics
  • Algebra I