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Exploiting advances in computing technology to support fusion research.

Animation showing how the JOREK code simulates plasma instabilities in MAST-Upgrade fusion device.

Computing plays a vital role in fusion research. Whether in modelling the complex physics of reactor grade plasmas, assisting with detailed engineering design work, understanding the properties of materials under extreme conditions or in processing the large quantities of data produced by tokamak experiments, taking advantage of the latest advances in computing can provide valuable insights to researchers.

Animation showing how the JOREK code simulates plasma instabilities in the MAST Upgrade tokamak.

CCFE and its operator, the UK Atomic Energy Authority, run a comprehensive advanced computing programme exploring the use of new technologies to allow faster and more detailed studies of the physics and engineering problems involved in creating sustained and controlled fusion reactions. We are involved in a wide range of projects at the cutting edge of research into applied computing, including but not limited to the following:

  • As part of the UK’s flagship ExCALIBUR (Exascale Computing: ALgorithms and Infrastructures Benefiting UK Research) programme led by the Met Office, we are developing software that will exploit the next generation of supercomputers (known as Exascale computers);
  • Exploring the use of novel computer architectures to accelerate fusion applications;
  • Driving the exploitation of academic and commercial clouds to allow researchers to perform data analytics at a scale not previously feasible;
  • Developing data management systems to handle the large quantities of data generated by the current and future generations of fusion experiments;
  • Investigating the use of novel machine learning techniques to help understand how plasmas behave and how to use automated control to keep them running reliably in reactors.
Visualisation of the results of a fluid simulation of water flow through a tokamak’s neutron detector tank

Visualisation of the results of a fluid simulation of water flow through a tokamak’s neutron detector tank

We work with leading technology providers to develop software which makes use of these advanced technologies covering modelling, simulation, data analysis and artificial intelligence. We also engage with collaborators across the different disciplines at UKAEA as well as with industrial and academic partners based in the UK, Europe and globally.

For more information regarding the projects we are currently undertaking and possible opportunities for collaboration, please contact shaun.de-witt@ukaea.uk. If you are interested in joining our group, please submit a CV to the UKAEA Advanced Computing talent pool at: https://ccfe.ukaea.uk/careers/vacancies/

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