March 27, 2016
PSFC research scientist Nathan Howard has received a 2016 Early Career Award for High Impact Science from the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC). He was honored on March 22 at the 2016 NERSC Users Group meeting in Berkeley, CA, where he presented his scientific results. The award recognizes NERSC users whose work “has, or is expected to have, an exceptional impact on scientific understanding, engineering design for scientific facilities, and/or a broad societal impact.”
Howard is being honored specifically for “his pioneering computational work in plasma turbulence simulations,” which required over 100 million core-hours of computing time. Working with collaborators at University of California, San Diego (UCSD), General Atomics, and the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center, he performed multi-scale gyrokinetic simulation work to investigate the coupling between long and short wavelength turbulence in the core of MIT’s Alcator C-Mod tokamak. This work indicates that short wavelength turbulence and its cross-scale turbulence interactions will likely play an important role in the electron heat transport in many fusion plasmas, including those in ITER, the next-step fusion tokamak being built in southern France. These results, recently published in the journal Nuclear Fusion, offer a probable explanation for the long-standing discrepancy between predicted and experimental electron heat losses in fusion devices.
NERSC, located at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, is the primary high-performance computing facility for scientific research sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.