M. McCourt, T. D. Rognlien, L. C. McInnes, H. Zhang, "Improving Parallel Scalability for Edge Plasma Transport Simulations with Neutral Gas Species," Preprint ANL/MCS-P2018-0112, January 2012. [pdf]
Simulating the transport of multi species plasma and neutral species in the edge region of a tokamak magnetic fusion energy device is computationally intensive and difficult due to coupling among various components, strong nonlinearities, and a broad range of temporal scales. In addition to providing boundary conditions for the core plasma, such models aid in the understanding and control of the associated plasma/material-wall interactions, a topic that is essential for the development of a viable fusion power plant. The governing partial differential equations are discretized to form a large nonlinear system that typically must be evolved in time to obtain steady-state solutions. Fully implicit techniques using preconditioned Jacobian free Newton Krylov methods with parallel domain-based preconditioners are shown to be robust and efficient for the plasma components. Inclusion of neutral gas components, however, increases the condition number of the system to the point where improved parallel preconditioning is needed. Standard algebraic preconditioners that provide sufficient coupling throughout the global domain to handle the neutrals are not generally scalable. We present a new preconditioner, termed FieldSplit, which exploits the character of the neutral equations to improve the scalability of the combined plasma/neutral system.