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Computing – Enhancing fusion models

Using the ASGarD mathematical framework, scientists can model and visualize the electric fields, shown as arrows, circling around magnetic fields that are colorized to represent field magnitude of a fusion plasma. Credit: David Green/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Combining expertise in physics, applied math and computing, Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists are expanding the possibilities for simulating electromagnetic fields that underpin phenomena in materials design and telecommunications.

An initial application for the work is in fusion energy, for which modeling small-scale, energetic particle movements in fusion plasmas requires complex numerical simulations, particularly at plasma boundaries where electromagnetic fluctuations can result in energy loss or damage to the fusion reactor.

To overcome computational limitations and advance models of whole fusion reactors, the ORNL team developed the Adaptive Sparse Grid Discretization, or ASGarD, mathematical framework for solving complex equations.

As reported in a recent Computer Physics Communications paper, the team applied its framework to the foundational equations of electromagnetism, known as Maxwell’s equations, and demonstrated a 100-times reduction in the computational resources required for solving the equations compared to traditional methods. Katie Jones