Simulation Fundraiser Simulation – The Focus Fusion Society ("FFS")


Modeling ITER Performance

Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor New research results support the predicted performance of ITER. Good news for those diligently constructing the massive reactor in southern France. In plasma, electrons separate from their nucleus leaving behind ions. To continue heating plasma to fusion temperatures requires injecting more energy via radio frequency (RF) waves. Free electrons and ions respond to these waves differently leading to different temperatures for both plasma constituents. Scientists needed to better understand how these differences influence overall plasma temperature and density. The combination of temperatures within the plasma produce “multi-scale” turbulence. Turbulence can reduce fusion reaction rates. The scientists used a “reduced physics” computer model called TGLF. This model simplifies the massively parallel and costly […]

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Artificial Intelligence in Fusion Research

Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor. Prior posts covered the intersection between fusion research and artificial intelligence (AI). AI is likely to become more important to the advancement of fusion research. Recent reports highlight more projects bringing AI to bear on the challenge of viable fusion power generation. A December report provides insight into what researchers are calling a Fusion Recurrent Neural Network (FRNN). Scientists affiliated with Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) are trying to craft a neural network that predicts failure of magnetic containment in tokamak fusion reactors. The common tokamak design in fusion research is prone to reactor damage if hot plasma escapes containment. Julian Kates-Harbeck is the lead architect for software that uses artificial […]

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The Rise of Private Fusion

Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor. Historically, governments and universities were centers of cutting edge research. They were the primary types of institutions that could bear the risk of the most ambitious plans. Now a new type of venture is rising. Privately funded research facilities whose path is unexplored but who hold the potential for great rewards. Fusion research exhibits this trend. LPPFusion, Tri-Alpha Energy, General Fusion and Hellion are all privately funded groups pursuing fusion energy. Following the recent announcement of LLPFusion’s WeFunder campaign comes news of a British company, First Light Fusion, obtaining new venture funding. First Light Fusion (FLF) hopes to harness fusion power via a novel inertial confinement technique. Using proprietary computer simulation, they […]

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Most Potent Tool in Fusion Science

Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor. There are a pair of stories highlighting the importance of computer simulation for fusion science. Fusion research is expensive. Big reactors require large quantities of costly materials. Construction projects run for years or decades. Ramp up times necessitate huge investments before the science can even begin. Hence the usefulness of computer simulation. Careful modeling of reactor design or plasma behavior can yield insights that save time and money while inching us closer to clean fusion power. Therefore, computers are often the most valuable tool to the fusion scientist. The first story describes simulation of plasma turbulence. Researchers used multi-scale simulations to study turbulent instabilities that cause plasma heat loss. The simulation added […]

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Laser Assisted Fusion Without Confinement?

Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor. Edited by Ignas Galvelis, Supervising Director. In March an international team of physicists reported on a novel approach to nuclear fusion. Foregoing the standard containment approaches, they propose using ultra-short bursts of lasers to nudge nuclei together. These photonic nudges could be used to provide the conditions for nuclei to overcome their electrostatic repulsion until the strong force could take over. Once nuclei are in close enough proximity the chance of fusion reaction becomes much more likely. Scientists from Rice University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chile collaborated on a two dimensional simulation between deuterium and tritium. Authors Peter Wolynes of Rice, Martin Gruebele of Illinois and […]

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Simulation of L-mode to H-mode Plasma Transition

Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor. Edited by Ignas Galvelis, Supervising Director. After 6.3 sextillion (6.3×10^21) CPU cycles of the Titan super computer running at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), a team of researchers has successfully simulated the spontaneous transition of turbulence at the edge of a fusion plasma from low confinement mode (L-mode) magnetic containment to high confinement mode (H-mode).  It took three days for Titan to run this simulation.  The simulation itself was modeling a mere 270 microseconds of real time plasma behavior. U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) physicists utilized 90 percent of Titan’s capacity during that three-day time-slot.  The Titan machine is the nation’s most powerful supercomputer for […]

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