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Saturday, Sep 30, 2023

General Atomics, Partners to Split $7.4M Grant

ENERGY: Sophisticated Computing Platform to Steer Research in Nuclear Fusion

Nuclear fusion – the process of generating energy by combining atoms, rather than splitting them – requires special materials and exotic machinery.

Solving the riddle of nuclear fusion also requires data scientists and a great deal of computing power.

The U.S. Department of Energy awarded a team led by San Diego’s General Atomics a $7.4 million grant to develop a computer system for advancing research into nuclear fusion. Under the three-year deal, the team will develop what they call a Fusion Data Platform or FDP.

GA and one of its partners, UC San Diego, announced the award in early September.

The project will be housed at one of GA’s longtime collaborators, the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego.

The San Diego Supercomputer Center was established in 1985 as one of the nation’s first supercomputer centers under a cooperative agreement by the National Science Foundation in collaboration with UC San Diego and GA.

Other partners on the Fusion Data Platform are Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Sapientai.

Petabytes of Data, Help From AI

The FDP will provide researchers with access to high-quality fusion data for the creation of reproducible Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) models. These advanced models will support the design and operation of Fusion Pilot Plants.

“A key mission of the FDP is to accelerate AI/ML research by expanding access to high-quality fusion data and the tools needed to process the data at scale,” said Raffi Nazikian, senior director and leader of the ITER Research Hub at General Atomics.

“The FDP will include experimental and simulated data in an integrated platform. We are talking many petabytes of data that will be easily accessible on the platform. The success of the FDP will be measured by how well we serve the needs of the fusion and broader data science community, including students and researchers from universities, national laboratories and industry.”

Frank Würthwein, director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center, added that “the FDP is an important step towards harnessing the power of fusion data to advance the development of fusion energy. GA and SDSC have a long history going back almost 40 years, and this is the beginning of a new chapter in our cooperation to advance fusion energy science and education.”

General Atomics & Affiliated Companies

CEO: Neal Blue
HEADQUARTERS: Torrey Pines Mesa
BUSINESS: Defense contractor and technology company
EMPLOYEES: More than 12,500
WEBSITE: www.ga.com
CONTACT: 858-455-3000
NOTABLE: GA operates an experimental nuclear fusion reactor called DIII-D (pronounced dee three dee) on its campus near UC San Diego


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