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Advances in prediction of tokamak experiments with theory-based models

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Nuclear Fusion
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The successful validation of theory-based models of transport, magnetohydrodynamic stability, heating and current drive, with tokamak measurements over the last 20 years, has laid the foundation for a new era where these models can be routinely used in a 'predict first' approach to design and predict the outcomes of experiments on tokamaks today. The capability to predict the plasma confinement and core profiles with a quantified uncertainty, based on a multi-machine, international, database of experience, will provide confidence that a proposed discharge will remain within the operational limits of the tokamak. Developing this predictive capability for the first generation of burning plasma devices, beginning with ITER, and progressing to tokamak demonstration reactors, is a critical mission of fusion energy research. Major advances have been made implementing this predict first methodology on today's tokamaks. An overview of several of these recent advances will be presented, providing the integrated modeling foundations of the experimental successes. The first steps to include boundary plasmas, and tokamak control systems, have been made. A commitment to predicting experiments as part of the planning process is needed in order to collect predictive accuracy data and evolve the models and software into a robust whole discharge pulse design simulator.