Wave propagation phenomena can nowadays be studied thanks to many powerful numerical<br>techniques. Spurred by the computational power made available by parallel computers,<br>geoscientists and engineers can now accurately compute synthetic seismograms in realistic<br>3D Earth models. In this field, the Spectral Element Method (SEM) has convincingly<br>demonstrated the ability to handle high-resolution simulations at global(e.g., Komatitsch et<br>al., 2005), regional (e.g., Komatisch et al, 2004, Lee at al., in press) and local scale (e.g.,<br>Stupazzini, 2004).<br>The SEM is as a generalization of the Finite Element Method (FEM) based on the use of<br>high-order piecewise polynomial functions. In the coming Petaflops era, the SEM should<br>become a standard tool for the study of seismic wave propagation, both for forward and<br>inverse problems. The more the power provided by computer clusters, the higher the<br>resolution that is available for the simulations. Consequently, the definition of a good<br>geological model and the creation of an all-hexahedral unstructured mesh are critical.


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