Solving Petascale Public Health and Safety Problems Using Uintah

PI Name: 
Martin Berzins
PI Email:
University of Utah
Allocation Program: 
Allocation Hours at ALCF: 
200 Million
Research Domain: 

Researchers at the University of Utah are addressing two separate public health and safety concerns with this project: (1) improving air quality in the San Joaquin Valley of California and (2) minimizing the damage caused by an unintentional detonation of a large array of explosive devices. The 2014 INCITE allocation matches the fourth year of a National Science Foundation PetaApps project aimed at solving health and safety problems with the Uintah Computational Framework (a set of software components and libraries that facilitate the solution of partial differential equations on structured adaptive mesh refinement grids).

The air quality issue within this project is focused on reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from oilfield steam generators in the San Joaquin Valley. The researchers will use Mira to perform a petascale validation/uncertainty quantification study of NOx emissions from a full-scale generator. Simulations will also be carried out to predict the NOx emissions produced from steam generators with modified burner designs. This work addresses the impending change to the U.S. NOx emissions standard from 15 parts per million (ppm) to 5 ppm.

The portion of this research focused on explosives is motivated by a 2005 semi-truck accident in which 36,000 pounds of seismic boosters ignited and detonated, destroying a section of Utah state highway and adjacent railway. Researchers will use Mira to examine explosive devices to prevent the transition from a low-violence deflagration (thermal combustion) to an extremely violent detonation. Petascale simulations are required to investigate the different packing arrangements and storage techniques that can be used to stop such transitions. The results of this research will help improve the safe storage and transport of explosive devices.