The awards consist of 35 million hours from the Innovative and Novel Impact on Computational Theory and Experiment (INCITE) programme, and 45 million hours from the ALCC, (ASCR - Advanced Scientific Computing Research - Leadership Computing Challenge). Both will be carried out on the Titan Cray XK7 supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This work is supported by the DOE Office of Science.
The combined research will shed light on large-scale magnetic behaviour in space and will help design three days of experiments in 2016 and 2017 on the world's most powerful high-intensity lasers at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "This will enable us to do experiments in a regime not yet accessible with any other laboratory plasma device", Amitava Bhattacharjee stated.
The supercomputer modelling, which is already under way, will investigate puzzles including:
The NIF experiments will test these models and build upon the team's work at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester. Researchers there have used high-intensity lasers at the university's OMEGA EP facility to produce high-energy density plasmas and their magnetic fields.
At NIF, the lasers will have 100 times the power of the Rochester facility and will produce plasmas that more closely match those that occur in space. The PPPL experiments will therefore focus on how reconnection proceeds in such large regimes.
Joining Amitava Bhattacharjee and Will Fox on the INCITE award will be astrophysicists Kai Germaschewksi of the University of New Hampshire and Yi-Min Huang of PPPL. The same team is conducting the ALCC research with the addition of Jonathan Ng of Princeton University. Researchers on the NIF experiments, for which Will Fox is principal investigator, will include Amitava Bhattacharjee and collaborators from PPPL, Princeton, the universities of Rochester, Michigan and Colorado-Boulder, and NIF and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.