GPU Multi-Scale Particle Tracking and Multi-Fluid Simulations of the Radiation Belts

Period of Performance: 09/26/2007 - 09/26/2008


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Eagle Harbor Technologies, Inc.
169 Western Ave W Suite 263
Seattle, WA 98119
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

University of Washington
Department of Aeronautics&Astronautics, Box 352250
Seattle, WA 98195
Institution POC


The radiation belts are a significant hazard to spacecraft, from generating single-event computer upsets to degradation of spacecraft surfaces and overall performance. The properties of the radiation belts can vary dramatically under the influence of magnetic storms and storm-time substorms. The task of understanding and predicting radiation belt properties is made difficult because their properties are not only modified by global processes but by small-scale wave-particle interactions. A full solution to the problem will require major innovations in technique and computer hardware. The proposed work will use new multi-scale/multi-fluid global simulations that are providing the first means to include small-scale processes within the global magnetospheric context. When linked with refinement gridding the code can be used to investigate self-consistently small-scale processes. Because of the disparate scale lengths and time scales substantial computational resources are needed. A major innovation of the proposed work will be codes designed to run of graphics processing units (GPUs). GPU are intrinsically highly parallelized systems that provide more than an order of magnitude computing speed over a CPU based systems. Successful development of a GPU based multi-scale/multi-fluid code couple to particle tracking will provide a major advance for the simulation of space plasmas.