EU supercomputers to be used for fusion modelling

Nuclear-fusion researchers will be given access to distributed supercomputer processing power to aid their sustainable energy quest, the European Commission has announced

The European Commission announced on Monday that it has opened up a network of distributed supercomputers for use in nuclear-fusion research.

Scientists for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) nuclear-fusion project will gain access to the processing power of Europe's consortium of supercomputing centres: the Distributed European Infrastructure for Supercomputing Applications (Deisa). The researchers will be able to model complex processes such as simulations of the operation of a fusion reactor, the Commission announced on Monday.

"We expect the new partnership between the supercomputing services of Deisa and the European nuclear-fusion community to make an enormous contribution to nuclear fusion's potential as a viable energy source and power Europe's role in this quest," said information society and media commissioner Viviane Reding in a statement. "This shows how pooling its best scientists and infrastructures helps Europe's scientific community remain at the forefront of global research."

Controlled nuclear fusion, the process that releases energy in stars and the sun, has the potential to provide a sustainable form of power generation, said the Commission. The ITER project, a collaboration between nuclear researchers from the European Union, Japan, China, India, South Korea, Russia and the US, aims to develop the means to build a fusion reactor at Cadarache, in the south of France.

Deisa, which was granted €26m (£25m) by the Commission to use between 2004 and 2011, uses the Geant computer network to distribute and share Europe's supercomputer processing power. Geant is a European multi-gigabit communications network used exclusively for research and academic purposes.

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