Section: Overall Objectives

Overall Objectives

Turbulence often called “the last unsolved problem in classical statistical mechanics” from a citation by Richard Feynman is a fundamental feature of fluid flows. Its correct description impacts such diverse fields as weather prediction and ocean dynamics, aircraft and ship design or transport and instabilities in plasmas to cite but a few.

The challenge of understanding and modeling turbulence has been with us for more than 100 years with very modest results. Since the 1941 Kolmogorov theory [50] , no universally valid successful theory has emerged in this field. This is certainly due to the fact that a universal theory of turbulence does not exist and that instead one has to face very different mechanisms with very different properties.

However, with emerging petaflop computers, some direct numerical simulation of fluid turbulence is becoming possible. This is specially true in application domains like transport in Tokamaks where some internal mechanism forbids the size of the turbulent eddies to go below certain limits (here, the Larmor radius). In other application areas such as classical aerodynamics, although direct numerical simulations are still out of reach, attention is becoming focused on unsteady processes and instabilities requiring the use of models beyond the RANS ones (“Reynolds averaged”).

The Castor  team is a follow-up of the team Pumas. Castor  gathers in a new team, the activities in numerical simulation of fusion plasmas conducted in Pumas with the activities in control and optimisation done in the laboratory Jean-Alexandre Dieudonné of the University of Nice. The main objective of the Castor  team is to contribute to the development of innovative numerical tool to improve the computer simulations of complex turbulent or unstable flows in plasma physics and to develop methods allowing the real-time control of these flows or the optimisation of scenarios of plasma discharges in tokamaks. Castor  is a common project between Inria (http://www.inria.fr/centre/sophia ) and the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis through the laboratory Jean-Alexandre Dieudonné, UMR UNS-CNRS 7351, (http://math.unice.fr ).