Tufts University professor to unravel theories of fluid dynamics using millions of hours of supercomputer time

Department of Energy's INCITE award gives Bruce M. Boghosian, professor of Mathematics and fellow researchers access to high-performance computer
January 30, 2009

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Patrick Collins

Public Relations


MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. – Tufts University Professor of Mathematics Bruce Boghosian and three British researchers have received one of the 25 new Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) awards for research into "large scale condensed matter and fluid dynamics simulations." 

The award, given by the US Department of Energy, will give Boghosian and research colleagues 42 million processing hours on the DOE's BlueGene P supercomputer to further their studies in turbulence research. In addition to processing time award winners will receive technical support and data storage privileges. 
The overall project is a collaboration between Boghosian and a team of researchers affiliated with the University College London. Boghosian will use computer modeling methods to study and describe turbulent flow, using a new mathematical methodology based on unstable periodic orbits (UPOs) of the Navier-Stokes equations of fluid dynamics. Turbulence is a ubiquitous yet vexing phenomenon for scientists who have tried to predict how turbulent flows behave. Turbulence affects weather changes in the atmosphere, the drag force on a speeding car, the motion of ocean currents and even the flow of the solar wind as it is buffeted by the earth’s magnetic field.
Understanding turbulent flow, says Boghosian, "remains one of the most difficult and unsolved problems of all mathematical sciences. What we hope to do is solve the long-standing problem in applied mathematics and engineering of predicting statistical averages over turbulent flow."
Boghosian's research colleagues, led by Peter Coveney, professor of physical chemistry at University College London, will use the technology to simulate blood flow in the brain. By studying abnormalities in blood flow, Coveney, and research fellows Steven Manos and Radhika Saksena, will be able to explore diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.
The Argonne National Laboratory is just outside Chicago. It houses the IBM BlueGene P supercomputer, which contains 32,768 processors and 16 terabytes of memory.
The 2009 INCITE awards were given to 66 research projects. Of those, 25 were new and 41 were renewals of projects that were previously awarded. The program seeks to recognize computationally intensive, large-scale research projects that can make high-impact scientific advances through the use of a substantial allocation of computer time and data storage.
About Tufts University
Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.