Fabio Riva gets the Physics Doctoral Thesis Award
24.12.17 - Fabio Riva got the award for his thesis entitled ‘Verification and validation procedures with applications to plasma-edge turbulence simulations’ supervised by Prof. Paolo Ricci at the Swiss Plasma Center.
Disentangling the complex plasma dynamics at play in fusion experiments requires sophisticated numerical computer codes. How can we ensure that these codes are bug free? How can we rigorously compare simulation results with experimental measurements? Fabio Riva’s thesis gives a crucial contribution to addressing these questions, with an impact that goes well beyond the plasma physics domain.
Fabio ported from the computational fluid dynamics community to the plasma physics domain the method of manufactured solutions, a rigorous methodology for assessing the correct implementation of codes based on finite difference algorithms. Following Fabio’s work, this methodology is now routinely employed in plasma physics. Furthermore, overcoming a long-standing open issue, Fabio developed a rigorous verification methodology for Particle-In-Cell simulations, also used in solid-state physics, hydrodynamics and computer graphics.
At the same time, Fabio simulated the impact of the magnetic field shape on plasma turbulence at the edge of fusion devices, rigorously comparing for the first time with experiments carried out in the TCV tokamak. This comparison turned out a significant advance in the understanding of plasma turbulence at the edge of fusion devices and will be useful for ITER operation and for future fusion reactor design.