Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) have joined forces to accelerate fusion energy research using advanced computing technologies.
The partnership will launch a Center of Excellence in Extreme Scale Computing in Fusion, located at STFC’s Hartree Center at its Daresbury Laboratory in the North West of England.
The center is home to some of the most advanced computer, data and AI technologies in the UK.
Fusion energy is considered crucial for low-carbon energy supply, but technical challenges still need to be overcome, including the production and management of the ‘plasma’ – the ultra-hot gas where the fusion process takes place – as well as challenges in materials and technical design.
The collaboration will use the latest computer systems, supercomputing and computer science expertise at STFC to solve some of the challenges, such as understanding and modeling plasma and producing the innovation required to develop the so-called ‘Digital Twins’ of future fusion power plants.
These models, which run on supercomputers, are a key element in helping scientists and engineers develop viable reactor technologies “in-silico” (in the virtual world), rather than via expansive, real-world prototypes.
Alison Kennedy, Director of STFC’s Hartree Center, said: “This new center will allow fusion specialists to work shoulder to shoulder with our own researchers and engineers to design tools and methods to accelerate the UK fusion program. Our relationship will further enhance our current collaboration with ATOS, Nvidia, IBM and other vendors.
“We are as excited as the UKAEA about the UK Government’s prioritization of fusion energy in their Ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution. Our own roadmap is strongly consistent with this document, and we strongly believe that the Hartree Center has unique world-class expertise that will be critical to the timely delivery of commercial fusion energy. ”
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