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Project TitleUndergraduate internship in computational plasma physics
SummaryIn this project, a student will implement algorithms for cosmic ray diffusion and cosmic ray pressure into a pre-existing parallel magnetohydrodynamic code (the Enzo adaptive mesh code; This code will be used to study galaxy formation and evolution using cosmological simulations on the Blue Waters supercomputer and other NSF computational resources, and will present an opportunity to learn about numerical plasma physics, large-scale supercomputing, and a cutting-edge astrophysics tool.
Job DescriptionThe scientific objective of this project is to study the impact of cosmic rays on astrophysical plasmas, including the interstellar and intergalactic media. These plasmas are typically treated as thermal fluids, but have the potential to be strongly affected by cosmic rays. Numerically, accurately modeling cosmic rays in a fluid simulation in a computationally efficient manner is challenging due to the disparate time scales involved.

This project will use the Enzo adaptive mesh refinement astrophysics code ( and the YT data analysis package ( Enzo is written in C++ and Fortran; YT is primarily written in Python, but with some C code in key areas. Both run routinely on large supercomputers using MPI and OpenMP. This project will involve implementing cosmic ray pressure terms in existing hydrodynamics solvers as well as modeling cosmic ray motion relative to the underlying thermal fluid using an advection-diffusion approximation. This will be done within Enzo's existing parallel AMR structure, and will be tested on Blue Waters and other NSF resources.
Start Date05/15/2016
End Date05/14/2017
LocationDepartment of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering and Department of Physics and Astronomy, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Claire Kopenhafer