EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State University’s Andrew Christlieb is leading a massive U.S. Department of Energy project to help deliver on the not-yet-realized promise of nuclear fusion. That promise? To create an unmatched source of affordable and sustainable energy.
Christlieb, an MSU Foundation Professor in the College of Natural Science, is now the director of a Mathematical Multifaceted Integrated Capability Center, or MMICC, supported by $15 million in funding from the DOE. He is joined by researchers at eight other universities and national labs across the country. Together, they’re developing new mathematical and computational tools to better model the physics needed to understand, control and sustain fusion.
The MSU-led center is one of four new MMICCs announced by the DOE.
“MMICCs enable applied mathematics researchers, working in large, collaborative teams, to take a broader view of a problem,” said Barbara Helland, DOE associate director of science for the Advanced Scientific Computing Research program, in a recent news release. “As a result of this holistic view, the researchers devise solutions by building fundamental, multidisciplinary mathematical capabilities considering existing and emerging computing capabilities.”
“We’re going to be pushing the boundaries of what can be done mathematically and computationally,” says Christlieb, who is a professor in the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering.
In addition to MSU’s contingent of experts, the team includes collaborators from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, the University of Colorado-Boulder, the University of Delaware, the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and the University of Washington.
“We’re asking ourselves how do we engage with things like machine learning? How do we engage with bigger, more powerful computers? How do we engage with new mathematical algorithms?” Christlieb says. “We have this lofty goal of taking a bird’s-eye view, looking down on all these different pieces and understanding how they fit together to solve big problems.”
By Matt Davenport
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