Section: New Results
Inverse transient plasma equilibrium problem
Participants : Holger Heumann, Jacques Blum.
The inverse transient plasma equilibrium problem aims at precomputing the trajectories of externally applied voltages in the poloidal field coils of a tokamak. A basic implementation of this problem in 2011/2012 in CEDRES++ during Holger Heumann's PostDoc at Inria, provided first insight into the capabilities and also difficulties of this approach. Application engineers are highly interested in this application, but realistic cases will require more evolved numerical methods to reduce the computational time and memory requirements. In 2014 we implemented the inverse transient plasma equilibrium problem in FEEQS.M to facilitate our search for better algorithms. In 2015 we started working on realistic test cases for the upcoming WEST tokamak. In order to make such problems accessible by the current version of our code, we had to split the time interval of interest into 5 subintervals, on which we solve 5 inverse problems. Only by the initial condition the problem on a subinterval is connected to its predecessor. Next we faced some serious convergence problem of the optimisation algorithms for some of these problems. These led us to do extensive benchmark runs with different optimisation algorithms and implementation, including both Gradient and SQP-type methods, either with handcoded or MATLAB-native implementations. As a result we envisage for 2016 the incorporation of the SQP implementation of Jean-Charles Gilbert, which seems to be perfectly adapted to optimal control problems such as ours. Another improvement was achieved in reducing the actual number of free control parameters and to replace piecewise linear control trajectories with high order polynomials.