The last decade has witnessed a rapid emergence of larger and faster computing systems in the US. Massively parallel machines have gone mainstream and are now the tool of choice for large scientific simulations. Keeping up with the continuously evolving technology is quite a challenge though. Scientific applications need to be modified, adapted, and optimized for each new system being introduced. In this talk, the evolution of a gyrokinetic particle-in-cell code developed at Princeton University’s Plasma Physics Laboratory is presented as it was adapted and improved to run on successively larger computing platforms.
About the speaker:
Dr. Stephane Ethier is a Computational Physicist in the Computational Plasma Physics Group at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). He received a Ph.D. from the Department of Energy and Materials of the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS) in Montreal, Canada. His current research involves large-scale gyrokinetic particle-in-cell simulations of microturbulence in magnetic confinement fusion devices as well as all aspects of high-performance computing on massively parallel systems.
Imagine harnessing the power of the sun within a magnetic bottle. Unlike hydrogen bombs, which are essentially uncontrolled fusion reactions, scientists for decades have been pursuing the peaceful challenge of safely harnessing fusion energy, a potentially efficient and environmentally attractive energy source. Progress in addressing this scientific grand challenge, suggested William Tang, the Director of the Fusion Simulation Program at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has benefited substantially from advances in super-computing. At the March 10 Lunch ‘n Learn, Tang noted that such capabilities continue to progress at a remarkable rate, from tera-to-petascale today, and to exascale in the near future.
At OIT’s Lunch ‘n Learn presentation on October 11, three of the faculty who were instrumental in architecting the new high performance facility – Bill Tang (Chief Scientist at PPPL and Associate Director of PICSciE), Jim Stone (Astrophysical Sciences with a joint appointment in PACM), and Mikko Haataja (Assistant Professor in the Materials Group in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering) – discussed their use of the University’s new centrally available high-performance computational facilities recently featured in a Princeton Weekly Bulletin article.
Curt Hillegas, OIT’s Manager of Computation Science and Engineering Support, began by reviewing the University’s recent progress in the area of high performance computing. He stressed the partnerships that made these advances possible, with significant contributions from PICSciE (Princeton Institute for Computation Science in Engineering), OIT, SEAS
(The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences), the Lewis Siegler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Astrophysical Sciences, and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. Individual faculty members have also contributed significant research funding. Hillegas revealed the name recently chosen for the infrastructure: TIGRES, or Terascale Infrastructure for Groundbreaking Research in Engineering and Science.