Princeton Plasma Physics LaboratoryCoordinator: William Tang
The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) at Princeton University is the DOE national laboratory for magnetic fusion and basic plasma physics research. Computational research and development in areas such as kinetic plasma turbulence and nonlinear magnetohydrodynamics provide a rich environment for developing and applying advanced numerical techniques on modern high-performance computing platforms. Since problems in computational plasma physics/fusion energy sciences present truly large, multi-scale challenges, they require engaging innovative software development with the potential of fully utilizing high performance supercomputers featuring massively parallel heterogeneous architectures.
In addition to building the scientific foundations needed to accelerate R&D progress by the familiar “hypothesis-driven”/first principles approaches just noted to predict complex dynamical behavior, an increasingly prominent methodology deployed in many scientific and industrial domains involves engagement of big-data-driven statistical methods featuring machine learning (ML). Accordingly, recent R&D activities at PPPL — which have attracted the interest and engagement of two DOE CSGF students in 2016 — are focused on the development and testing of ML-based-methodologies to help provide much-needed guidance for avoiding very dangerous large-scale "disruption events" in magnetically-confined plasmas.