Postdoc position: Hybrid PDE/Monte-Carlo methods for fusion energy simulation

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
October 02, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Working Time:Negotigation
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Postdoc position: Hybrid PDE/Monte-Carlo methods for fusion energy


(ref. BAP-2023-488)

Last modification : Tuesday, July 11, 2023

NUMA is a research section within the Department of Computer Science of KU Leuven, with 15 permanent staff members and approximately 40 PhD and postdoctoral researchers. NUMA (Numerical Analysis and Applied Mathematics) develops numerical algorithms and software for large-scale problems in science and engineering. Its research ranges from algorithm design and analysis to software implementation and applications in other scientific and engineering domains.

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Fusion energy is a complex scientific and engineering challenge, forwhich an accurate simulation of plasma in different parts of the fusion reactoris crucial for its design and operation. In the plasma edge, the plasma is usuallymodeled as a fluid. The neutral particles are typically modelled with a Boltzmann-typekinetic equation containing detailed descriptions of scattering (chargeexchange) and ionization collisions between neutral particles and the plasma. Inhigh-collisional regimes, simulating processes becomes prohibitively costly becauseof the time-scale separation between the (fast) time scales of individualcollisions and the (slow) time scale at which the distribution evolves as awhole. At the same time, approximatemacroscopic models exist in this regime, that only take into accountmacroscopic quantities, such as density, momentum or energy.

This position fits within an ongoing EuroFusion project on Theory, Simulation,Verification and Validation (TSVV) of the neutral gas module for plasma edgesimulations. This project aims at developing and implementing numerical methodsthat correct the approximate macroscopic models in the high- collisional limitby a Monte Carlo simulation of a limited number of kinetic particles. Inparticular, we will develop multilevelasymptotic-preserving Monte Carlo particle methods that gradually transitionfrom fully kinetic to fully fluid when adjusting the time step. The main algorithmicchallenges in this context are the development of appropriate source termestimation procedures and boundary conditions for particles near the divertor.

The research will be carried out in an international team of numericalanalysts at NUMA, and fits within along-standing and fruitful collaboration with the fusion energy team at the Departmentof Mechanical Engineering, led by professor Martine Baelmans.

  • Candidates must hold a PhD in Mathematical Engineering or High Performance Computing (or equivalent).

  • Candidates should have a solid backgroundin programming of scientific software and/or high-performance computing.

  • Candidates should have experience in computational mathematics (e.g.,numerical methods for differential equations, simulation of stochastic processes and/or optimization).
  • Specific experience in simulation of Boltzmann-type kinetic equations and/or fusion energy simulation is a strong asset.

  • Excellent proficiency in English is required, as well as good communication skills, both oral and written.

  • Offer
  • The position can start on January 1, 2024. Funding is secured for two years, and an extension for two more years is likely.

  • A high-level and exciting international research environment.

  • A supportive and collaborative team in which you can develop know-how and expertise in state-of-the-art simulation methods.

  • The opportunity to build up research and innovation skills that are essential for a future career in research and development, both in an industrial and academic context.

  • The opportunity to gradually build up a leading role within the team, including joint supervision of master and PhD researchers with the PI.

  • A competitive salary.

  • More information

    Overview of the TSVV project in which this position fits


    Submit your application,including

    1) a letter of motivation with astatement of skills and research interests,

    2) a curriculum vitae,

    3) university diploma copies andtranscripts, and

    4) names and contact informationof 1-2 references.

    Applications will be considered assoon as they are received, and the opening will be closed as soon as a suitable candidate ishired. The formal application deadline is October 2, 2023.

    For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Giovanni Samaey, tel.: +32 16 32 75 58, mail: [email protected].

    KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at [email protected].

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