General Atomics scientists are leveraging DOE supercomputers to


San Diego, CA, Aug. 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Scientists from General Atomics (GA) and the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego have secured much-needed compute time on two world-leading supercomputers plan such as under the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Advanced Scientific Computing Research Leadership Computing Challenge (ALCC) program. The price was announced at the end of June.

ALCC projects, with applications ranging from advanced energy systems to climate change, use DOE supercomputers to uncover unique insights into scientific problems that would otherwise be impossible to solve using experimental approaches. The GA team will use the computing time to examine the behavior of high-energy plasmas in fusion devices.

A key part of practical fusion energy training is to accurately simulate the behavior of fusion fuel during operation. These simulations allow researchers to test theories and design more efficient experiments on devices like the DIII-D National Fusion Facility. Such simulations require enormous computing power, and many can only be run efficiently on high-end supercomputers like those operated by the DOE.

Jeff Candy, GA’s director of theory and computational science, will lead the team, along with GA scientists Emily Belli and Matthias Knolker, and SDSC scientific software developer and principal investigator Igor Sfiligoi. The group received an ALCC grant award on two supercomputers, Summit at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility in Tennessee and Perlmutter GPU at the National Energy Research Supercomputing Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.

The team will use the computing time to perform fusion fuel turbulence simulations with the CGYRO code, which was developed at GA specifically for fusion simulations. CGYRO is highly optimized for scalability on systems like Summit and Perlmutter that use state-of-the-art GPU-based architectures.

The simulations will use CGYRO to perform a critical analysis of a phenomenon known as “H-mode pedestal transport”, which describes how energy and particles flow around the edge of a fusion plasma during operation. The team will attempt to replicate some key aspects of this process observed in recent experiments at DIII-D.

“We are grateful to NERSC and OLCF for having access to these truly state-of-the-art systems,” Candy said. “We are confident that we can put them to good use to solve key aspects of the H-Mode pedestal mystery.”

Please click on the following link to view a CGYRO simulation showing turbulent electronic motion that can cause slow energy loss in a fusion machine.

About General Atomics: Since the dawn of the atomic age, General Atomics innovations have advanced the state of the art across the spectrum of science and technology – from nuclear power and defense to medicine and to high performance computing. Behind a talented global team of scientists, engineers and professionals, GA’s unique experience and capabilities continue to provide safe, durable, economical and innovative solutions to meet growing global demand.


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