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Latest ITER Newsline

  • Toroidal field coils | Finishing touches on site

    Between the time a toroidal field coil is delivered to ITER and the moment it is ready to enter the pre-assembly process, certain tasks must be performed: the w [...]

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  • Cryostat base insertion | "A moment that will live in our memories"

    In the closing scene of the 1977 movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, an alien spaceship hovers above an anxious and awestruck crowd of scientists and engi [...]

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  • Cryogenics | As dry as He can get

    Before it gets processed in the cold boxes of the ITER cryoplant, gaseous helium need to be perfectly dry—and this means removing every single water molecule th [...]

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  • Electron cyclotron transmission lines | Design phase ends

    US ITER is ready to start manufacturing high-power microwave transmission lines for the electron cyclotron resonance heating system. After several years of d [...]

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  • Gyrotrons | Russia completes four

    Gyrotrons (from the Greek 'gyro' (circle) and 'tron' (abstracted from electron) are the energy-generating devices of the electron cyclotron resonance heating sy [...]

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Of Interest

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A vision of the future

Robert Arnoux

Anders Wallander and Thomas Casper: working on RDBS has provided strong linkage between CODAC engineers and Fusion Science & Technology (FST) physicists. (Click to view larger version...)
Anders Wallander and Thomas Casper: working on RDBS has provided strong linkage between CODAC engineers and Fusion Science & Technology (FST) physicists.
The year is sometime around 2030. The place—the ITER Control Room. All attention is focused on a large screen that displays graphs, figures, colours and a cutaway view of the vacuum vessel with a pulsing "D" shape at its centre.

A full deuterium-tritium (DT) plasma shot is underway. It is not the first one, but a DT shot is never routine. At one point, cheers and applause resound—the present shot is just perfect ... all parameters nominal, the entire control system performing at its best.

Although this scene may belong to the future, the display screen can already be visualized thanks to a CODAC application that was recently developed by the ITER CODAC team and the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego. A precious tool, the real-time plasma boundary display system (RBDS) allows the presentation of data simulating actual plasma shots, based on different scenarios.

To the lay viewer, the on-screen simulation looks like just another animation. In reality, obtaining this "quick display overview" takes a few days' execution time on the Livermore National Laboratory computer cluster.

"Visualization, even at this early stage of the project, is very important," says CODAC Section Leader Anders Wallander. "It provides indications about what data we'll need and when we'll need it. It also allows us to validate the technologies chosen for CODAC."

A precious tool for the ongoing work at ITER, the real-time plasma boundary display system (RBDS) allows to present data generated from different scenarios simulating actual plasma shots. (Click to view larger version...)
A precious tool for the ongoing work at ITER, the real-time plasma boundary display system (RBDS) allows to present data generated from different scenarios simulating actual plasma shots.
RBDS is part of the high performance networking (HPN) project that ITER partly contracted in 2009 to General Atomics, the private company that operates the DIII-D Tokamak. The project investigates and prototypes technologies for data transport architecture—a key issue in tokamak operation.
On the ITER side, working on RBDS has created strong ties between CODAC engineers and Fusion Science & Technology (FST) physicists—something Anders considers essential to the success of the project.

"There are several scientists in the Member countries doing plasma simulation," says Thomas Casper, the FST experimental physicist who participated in the project. "Soon, we'll make our visualization and data system available to them. It's part of the ITER philosophy: this huge project should drag in what was scattered until to now."


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