Our experience as summer interns at the BSC Fusion Group

Guillem and Ruth working on their project during the Summer HPC Internship Programme at the Fusion Group.

We are Guillem and Ruth and during this summer we have been working in the Fusion Group in the frame of BSC International Summer HPC Internship Programme and, in this post, we are delighted to share with you our experience.

Our supervisor during the internship was Dani Gallart, who introduced us to the basics of Fusion and, more specifically Ion Cyclotron Resonance Heating during the first weeks through some books and papers as well as personally explaining to us several concepts. Of course, he guided us through the whole project and provided us with the necessary advice when dealing with the simulation codes.

Our project consisted on the validation of several JET DTE2 discharges PION simulations in terms of the neutron yield, that is, the fusion reactions. PION is a code which models the ICRH wave propagation, absorption and evolution of the different plasma species distribution function.  We worked on improving the PION simulations results for certain shots, basically in terms of the neutron rate, by analyzing several experimental plasma equilibrium parameters (for instance, ion and electron temperature and density) impact on the fusion performance. Also, as we worked on different sorts of discharges (baseline and hybrid) with different ICRH scenarios (2nd Tritium Harmonic, He-3 minority, H minority…), we also considered other relevant parameters such as the minority concentration, the non-resonating NBI beams contribution and penetration. Testing the influence of such plasma parameters was really insightful not only in order to improve the agreement between the simulations and the experimentlucs but also to understand the underlying plasma physics of the plasma heating.

The experience in this research project has been extremely enriching in many senses. To name a few, getting into the astonishing theory of ICRH and being able to witness its consequences with the simulations was extremely interesting. Not to mention how exciting and challenging it was to work in an HPC environment and learning to use a Fortran code as PION and implementing changes on it. Nevertheless, our learnings go far beyond the purely technical and theoretical knowledge. For both of us, this was our first approach towards working in research and we could not be more pleased with the atmosphere we found in the group which made us feel truly involved and included. Learning from such an interdisciplinary team was certainly valuable. In addition, what made the experience even more rewarding to us was feeling we were enjoying learning and doing research in a field not only appealing by its sheer contents but also because it contributes to the development of a sustainable source of energy and therefore a better world.

In this video above, made by the BSC team, we explain in more detail our experience and what the BSC International Summer HPC Internship Programme is about. After this internship we certainly feel more than ever motivated to undertake a research path, and we are very glad we could enjoy this stay at the group and deepen into the Fusion research.

We feel really grateful to the whole Fusion Group and, of course, specially to Mervi Mantsinen and Dani Gallart for making our experience so enjoyable and enriching.

Leave a Comment