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  • richardmitnick 3:13 pm on March 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New high-performance computing hub aims to harness the sun's energy", EPFL’s Swiss Plasma Center, EUROfusion - European Consortium for the Development of Fusion Energy (EU), , ,   

    From Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH): “New high-performance computing hub aims to harness the sun’s energy” 

    From Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH)

    EPFL will soon be home to a European hub for high-performance computing focused on fusion power – a potential source of clean, risk-free energy. As part of this effort, EPFL’s Swiss Plasma Center will lead a campus-wide, cross-disciplinary research team.

    Renata Vujica

    EUROfusion – European Consortium for the Development of Fusion Energy (EU), which consists of organizations from 28 European countries – has just selected EPFL as the site for its Advanced Computing Hub. This research hub will be led by the Swiss Plasma Center and bring together a diverse group of scientists from EPFL’s Institute of Mathematics, SCITAS (which houses a high-performance scientific computing platform), Swiss Data Science Center (a national center of excellence in big data), and Laboratory for Experimental Museology (eM+). These experts will provide scientific and technical support as well as supercomputing capacity to European researchers working in the field of fusion power.

    JET Tokamak device at Culham, Oxfordshire, England.

    The Swiss Plasma Center is one of the world’s leading fusion research laboratories. According to its head Ambrogio Fasoli, “Being selected to host the Advanced Computing Hub reflects our recognized expertise in fusion theory and simulation, and points to the interdisciplinary nature of our work. It proves that our research is of interest to other scientific communities, like those in mathematics and big data. These scientists will soon be able to pool their knowledge and start working together on a high-level international initiative.”

    Updating simulation codes

    The research team has its work cut out for it – they will be updating computer simulation codes used by experimental fusion reactors known as tokamaks.

    The most well-known of these types of reactors, ITER, is currently being built in the south of France.

    ITER Tokamak in Saint-Paul-lès-Durance, which is in southern France.

    The aim of tokamaks is to demonstrate the feasibility of large-scale nuclear fusion. Fusion power – generated from the same reactions that occur inside the Sun – could be an alternative for providing clean energy for the entire planet, without producing long-term radioactive waste.

    Creating a fusion reaction here on Earth, however, is an incredibly complicated task, from both an experimental and theoretical point of view. “The field of fusion power entails not just building massive reactors such as ITER, but also performing cutting-edge research to better understand, interpret and predict physical phenomena. These predictions are based on large-scale simulations that require the world’s most powerful computers. Researchers need operational support to perform such calculations,” says Paolo Ricci, a professor at the Swiss Plasma Center and the hub’s chief scientist.

    The purpose of the hub is to provide comprehensive, Europe-wide support for fusion simulations. Incredibly powerful computers are needed to simulate the complex phenomena involved in the fusion process, and these computers must be used wisely and upgraded regularly. “We’ll try to work in a scalable, adaptable manner. EUROfusion researchers need to be able to benefit from future advancements in computing technology. Our job at the Advanced Computing Hub will be to update existing simulation codes so that researchers can take full advantage of new capabilities offered by upcoming generations of supercomputers,” says Gilles Fourestey, head of the hub’s operations.

    Real-time visualizations

    The hub will also draw on one of EPFL’s new areas of expertise: 3D data visualization, using technology developed at the Laboratory for Experimental Museology (eM+), headed by Prof. Sarah Kenderdine. To help the scientists better understand the highly complex data generated by the supercomputers, Kenderdine’s lab will supply immersive augmented reality technology and state-of-the art facilities for performing highly advanced 3D visualizations.

    © Photo Sarah Kenderdine Authors: Joram Posma, Sarah Kenderdine, Jeremy Nicholson

    The goal will be to graphically display the results of simulations and, ultimately, to allow researchers to interact with them in real time. “What we’re going to be doing is taking data feeds live from the Swiss Plasma Center and importing them into these big systems. This allows multiple researchers to come together in a visualization space. The emergence of real time graphics is a big, booming area, where so much is possible. But how you construct these worlds is not yet clear. So that’s what we’re going to figure out together,” says Kenderdine.

    The Advanced Computing Hub initiative will kick off on 1 July 2021 and run through 2025. However, most of the scientists involved believe that it could become a long-term fixture on EPFL’s campus. “In any case, I’ll work hard to make sure that this cross-disciplinary effort continues well beyond the European framework program,” says Fasoli.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    EPFL bloc

    EPFL campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH) is a research institute and university in Lausanne, Switzerland, that specializes in natural sciences and engineering. It is one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, and it has three main missions: education, research and technology transfer.

    The QS World University Rankings ranks EPFL(CH) 14th in the world across all fields in their 2020/2021 ranking, whereas Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranks EPFL(CH) as the world’s 19th best school for Engineering and Technology in 2020.

    EPFL(CH) is located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland; the sister institution in the German-speaking part of Switzerland is the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich(CH) (ETH Zürich(CH). Associated with several specialized research institutes, the two universities form the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH(CH) Domain) which is directly dependent on the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research. In connection with research and teaching activities, EPFL(CH) operates a nuclear reactor CROCUS; a Tokamak Fusion reactor; a Blue Gene/Q Supercomputer; and P3 bio-hazard facilities.

    The roots of modern-day EPFL(CH) can be traced back to the foundation of a private school under the name École spéciale de Lausanne in 1853 at the initiative of Lois Rivier, a graduate of the École Centrale Paris (FR) and John Gay the then professor and rector of the Académie de Lausanne. At its inception it had only 11 students and the offices was located at Rue du Valentin in Lausanne. In 1869, it became the technical department of the public Académie de Lausanne. When the Académie was reorganised and acquired the status of a university in 1890, the technical faculty changed its name to École d’ingénieurs de l’Université de Lausanne. In 1946, it was renamed the École polytechnique de l’Université de Lausanne (EPUL). In 1969, the EPUL was separated from the rest of the University of Lausanne and became a federal institute under its current name. EPFL(CH), like ETH Zürich(CH), is thus directly controlled by the Swiss federal government. In contrast, all other universities in Switzerland are controlled by their respective cantonal governments. Following the nomination of Patrick Aebischer as president in 2000, EPFL(CH) has started to develop into the field of life sciences. It absorbed the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) in 2008.

    In 1946, there were 360 students. In 1969, EPFL(CH) had 1,400 students and 55 professors. In the past two decades the university has grown rapidly and as of 2012 roughly 14,000 people study or work on campus, about 9,300 of these being Bachelor, Master or PhD students. The environment at modern day EPFL(CH) is highly international with the school attracting students and researchers from all over the world. More than 125 countries are represented on the campus and the university has two official languages, French and English.


    EPFL is organised into eight schools, themselves formed of institutes that group research units (laboratories or chairs) around common themes:

    School of Basic Sciences (SB, Jan S. Hesthaven)

    Institute of Mathematics (MATH, Victor Panaretos)
    Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering (ISIC, Emsley Lyndon)
    Institute of Physics (IPHYS, Harald Brune)
    European Centre of Atomic and Molecular Computations (CECAM, Ignacio Pagonabarraga Mora)
    Bernoulli Center (CIB, Nicolas Monod)
    Biomedical Imaging Research Center (CIBM, Rolf Gruetter)
    Interdisciplinary Center for Electron Microscopy (CIME, Cécile Hébert)
    Max Planck-EPFL Centre for Molecular Nanosciences and Technology (CMNT, Thomas Rizzo)
    Swiss Plasma Center (SPC, Ambrogio Fasoli)
    Laboratory of Astrophysics (LASTRO, Jean-Paul Kneib)

    School of Engineering (STI, Ali Sayed)

    Institute of Electrical Engineering (IEL, Giovanni De Micheli)
    Institute of Mechanical Engineering (IGM, Thomas Gmür)
    Institute of Materials (IMX, Michaud Véronique)
    Institute of Microengineering (IMT, Olivier Martin)
    Institute of Bioengineering (IBI, Matthias Lütolf)

    School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC, Claudia R. Binder)

    Institute of Architecture (IA, Luca Ortelli)
    Civil Engineering Institute (IIC, Eugen Brühwiler)
    Institute of Urban and Regional Sciences (INTER, Philippe Thalmann)
    Environmental Engineering Institute (IIE, David Andrew Barry)

    School of Computer and Communication Sciences (IC, James Larus)

    Algorithms & Theoretical Computer Science
    Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
    Computational Biology
    Computer Architecture & Integrated Systems
    Data Management & Information Retrieval
    Graphics & Vision
    Human-Computer Interaction
    Information & Communication Theory
    Programming Languages & Formal Methods
    Security & Cryptography
    Signal & Image Processing

    School of Life Sciences (SV, Gisou van der Goot)

    Bachelor-Master Teaching Section in Life Sciences and Technologies (SSV)
    Brain Mind Institute (BMI, Carmen Sandi)
    Institute of Bioengineering (IBI, Melody Swartz)
    Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC, Douglas Hanahan)
    Global Health Institute (GHI, Bruno Lemaitre)
    Ten Technology Platforms & Core Facilities (PTECH)
    Center for Phenogenomics (CPG)
    NCCR Synaptic Bases of Mental Diseases (NCCR-SYNAPSY)

    College of Management of Technology (CDM)

    Swiss Finance Institute at EPFL (CDM-SFI, Damir Filipovic)
    Section of Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship (CDM-PMTE, Daniel Kuhn)
    Institute of Technology and Public Policy (CDM-ITPP, Matthias Finger)
    Institute of Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship (CDM-MTEI, Ralf Seifert)
    Section of Financial Engineering (CDM-IF, Julien Hugonnier)

    College of Humanities (CDH, Thomas David)

    Human and social sciences teaching program (CDH-SHS, Thomas David)

    EPFL Middle East (EME, Dr. Franco Vigliotti)[62]

    Section of Energy Management and Sustainability (MES, Prof. Maher Kayal)

    In addition to the eight schools there are seven closely related institutions

    Swiss Cancer Centre
    Center for Biomedical Imaging (CIBM)
    Centre for Advanced Modelling Science (CADMOS)
    École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL)
    Campus Biotech
    Wyss Center for Bio- and Neuro-engineering
    Swiss National Supercomputing Centre

  • richardmitnick 1:05 pm on February 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Heat loss control method in fusion reactors", , Culham Centre for Fusion Energy(UK), DEMO tokamak, DIFFER https://www.differ.nl/magnum_plasma_en, Eindhoven University of Technology [Technische Universiteit Eindhoven](NL), EPFL TCV tokamak, EPFL’s Swiss Plasma Center, EUROfusion research programme https://www.euro-fusion.org, Fast result: tested on EPFL's TCV tokamak, Free University of Brussels [Vrije Universiteit](BE), Fusion energy is a promising sustainable energy source [for 30 years it has been comming in 30 years]., , Institute of Plasma Physics of [CAS](CN), , MANTIS- Multispectral Advanced Narrowband Tokamak Imaging System, MIT(US), MPG Institute for Plasma Physics [MPG Institut für Plasmaphysik](DE), Timo Ravensbergen (DIFFER): “We are going from studying to controlling. This is vital for the future of fusion reactors”   

    From École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne(CH): “Heat loss control method in fusion reactors” 

    From École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne(CH)

    Renata Vujica
    Yves Martin

    TCV tokamak. Credit: École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne(CH)

    The core of a fusion reactor is incredibly hot. Hydrogen that inevitably escapes from it must be cooled on its way to the wall, as otherwise, the reactor wall would be damaged. Researchers from the Dutch institute DIFFER and EPFL’s Swiss Plasma Center have developed a strict measurement and control method for the cooling of very hot particles escaping from fusion plasmas.

    Fusion energy is a promising sustainable energy source [for 30 years it has been comming in 30 years]. In a fusion reactor, extremely hot hydrogen plasma is kept suspended by magnetic fields. However, there is always a fraction that escapes. To prevent it from damaging the reactor vessel, the escaped hydrogen must be cooled down on its way to the wall.

    Cooling can be achieved in various ways, such as by injecting a gas. “But if you inject too much additional gas, the plasma is cooled too strongly, which reduces the performance,” says Christian Theiler (Swiss Plasma Center, EPFL), co-author of a study published in Nature Communications. It is therefore necessary to constantly manage the cooling to the point that the reactor can adequately cope. Matthijs van Berkel (DIFFER): “The ability to control the cooling precisely is explicitly stated in the European fusion program (EUROfusion) as a necessary step towards fusion energy. It is fantastic that we can contribute to this now.” In Nature Communications the authors describe how to cool the escaping particles in a quick and controlled manner with an innovative feedback control system. The experiments has been carried out in the TCV tokamak, a fusion research machine at the EPFL’s Swiss Plasma Center.

    “We are going from studying to controlling. This is vital for the future of fusion reactors,” says first author Timo Ravensbergen (DIFFER). “We measure, calculate, and control with incredible speed.”

    A closed system

    Escaping hydrogen is carried away via the reactor’s ‘exhaust’. That exhaust is called the diverter, where the plasma heat losses are captured. The process of strong cooling in the vicinity of the diverter is called diverter detachment. It reduces plasma temperature and pressure near the wall. Fusion physicists already have a lot of experience with this process, but this is partly based on intuition and on experiences from previous measurements. Now things will be done differently. “We have developed a closed system,” says Van Berkel, group leader Energy Systems & Control. “We have combined many different techniques, that is what makes it unique. Our systems engineering approach can be applied to other fusion reactors.” The experiments are a proof-of-principle. Van Berkel thinks that the method will be – with adjustments – applicable in the large fusion reactors ITER and DEMO.

    ITER experimental tokamak nuclear fusion reactor that is being built next to the Cadarache facility in Saint Paul les-Durance south of France.

    DEMO tokamak.Credit: Antonio Froio


    The researchers made use of the camera system MANTIS at the TCV tokamak for this research.

    Multispectral Advanced Narrowband Tokamak Imaging System [MANTIS]-The closed loop of measuring, calculating, and controlling to prevent the tokamak wall from being destroyed © Julia van Leeuwen.

    This Multispectral Advanced Narrowband Tokamak Imaging System [MANTIS] was developed by DIFFER, EPFL and MIT(US). The researchers adapted the system in such a way that camera images were converted into data from which a computer model could then calculate in real-time the optimum cooling under varying conditions. This all took place with considerable precision: the status of the plasma is determined 800 times per second.

    A new real-time image-processing algorithm, developed at DIFFER, analyzes the MANTIS system images. The algorithm calculates how much you need to cool by, and subsequently controls the gas valves automatically. Finally, the researchers produced a model of the system by analyzing, once again with the camera, how the plasma responds to the gas introduced. “With this model, we determine the dynamic relationship between the control of the gas valve and the heat front,” says Van Berkel.

    Fast result: tested on EPFL’s TCV tokamak

    The system was tested on the TCV tokamak. “It is a very flexible device, where ideas can be developed and tested rather quickly,” emphases Theiler. Van Berkel agrees: “TCV is a fantastic machine for testing control techniques, with a hypermodern real-time control system.” Van Berkel tells results came fast: “Within just four experiments, we managed to achieve feed-back control of the plasma near the divertor. This demonstrates that our systematic approach works.”

    Future research

    A proposal for follow-up research has already been prepared. The researchers made use of just one MANTIS camera, whereas the system has ten. The researchers want to use the other cameras as well, so that they can control the process even more accurately, and to control additional key processes in the divertor.

    Fusion: great energy potential

    Fusion, the nuclear reaction that powers the Sun, has a high energy potential, is safe and environment-friendly. Research in this field is boosted by the international reactor ITER. While the giant research machine is being assembled in France, scientists from all over the world are working on the next steps: producing large-scale fusion reactions within it. Fusion occurs when nuclei of light atoms are heated to a hundred million degrees, forming a gas of charged particles called plasma.


    This project is a collaboration between DIFFER, EPFL, Eindhoven University of Technology [Technische Universiteit Eindhoven](NL), Free University of Brussels [Vrije Universiteit](BE), MIT(US), Institute of Plasma Physics of [CAS](CN), Culham Centre for Fusion Energy(UK), and the MPG Institute for Plasma Physics [MPG Institut für Plasmaphysik](DE) and is part of the EUROfusion research programme.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    EPFL bloc

    EPFL campus

    École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne(CH) is Europe’s most cosmopolitan technical university. It receives students, professors and staff from over 120 nationalities. With both a Swiss and international calling, it is therefore guided by a constant wish to open up; its missions of teaching, research and partnership impact various circles: universities and engineering schools, developing and emerging countries, secondary schools and gymnasiums, industry and economy, political circles and the general public.

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