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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

UNC: Miller Receives Supercomputer Grant to Investigate Multiphase Porous Medium Systems

As part of their research into multiphase flow in porous medium systems, Dr. Cass T. Miller, Okun Distinguished Professor of environmental sciences and engineering at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Dr. William G. Gray, research professor of environmental sciences and engineering, and Dr. Jan F. Prins, professor of computer science, have been awarded 340,000 node-hours on the Oak Ridge Laboratory Computing Facility’s Summit supercomputer. This award was given by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program.

Researchers who are awarded time allotments from the INCITE program are seeking answers to questions that must be calculated using a scale of computation that cannot be performed anywhere else in the world. The research of Dr. Miller and his team seeks to describe how mass, momentum and energy move in systems that contain two or more fluids and a solid phase (called multiphase porous medium systems). These systems exist in nature, as well as in engineered and organismic systems. They are applicable to many areas of industry, including hydraulic fracturing, carbon capture and storage, groundwater remediation and biomedical research.

In previous work, Dr. Miller and his team derived the thermodynamically constrained averaging theory (TCAT), which enables the formulation of mechanistic mathematical models from first principles. Because these models are innovative, they must be evaluated and validated. The simulations that will be performed will be among the largest simulations of environmental systems ever reported, with computational grids resolved at up to 100 billion locations.

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