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A simple and efficient computational framework is presented for the simulation of variably saturated flow in porous media. In this modeling approach the Cellular Automata (CA) concept is implemented. The computational domain is thus discretized with a regular grid and simple rules govern the evolution of the physical phenomena. The inherent CA concept simplicity and its natural parallelism make the parallel implementation of algorithms very efficient, especially for the simulation of large scale phenomena. This is a very important feature that allows to incorporate the CA computational framework into a more general catchment scale distributed hydrological model for the detailed simulation of soil water balance or into other types of models, which are used to simulate the dynamics of water pressure heads and of soil saturation, such as in the case of the modelling of rainfall triggered landslides and of solute and contaminant transport in agricultural soils. CUDA architecture is utilized in order to take advantage of the computational capabilities of modern GPUs. Particular weight was given to the utilization of the different available memory types. Constant and texture memory are extensively used in order to accelerate the memory accesses, while shared memory is used to exploit the locality of thread computations and optimize block’s memory accesses. The presented model was applied to various test cases and showed good agreement with published results and scalability with increasing thread and block size.
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