Texas A&M nuclear graduate student wins Outstanding Poster Award at SSAP Symposium

March 30, 2016
| By: Robert (Chris) Scoggins

Donald Bruss, a graduate student in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M University, won an Outstanding Poster Award at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) 2016 Stewardship Science Academic Programs (SSAP) Symposium in Bethesda, Maryland. The SSAP Symposium serves to highlight the accomplishments of the different academic programs NNSA sponsors through promoting academic interaction between programs, and fostering a collegiate and interactive spirit between members of the scientific community and the attending students.

Bruss’s poster was entitled “UQ for Radiation Transport Problems with Uncertain Cross Sections.” Bruss and other students in the department were taken to the symposium under the guidance of Dr. Jim Morel, director of the Center for Large-Scale Scientific Simulations and professor of nuclear engineering at Texas A&M. Morel presented the work the students were doing as a part of the Center for Exascale Radiation Transport (CERT) at Texas A&M, a multidisciplinary project within NNSA’s Predictive Science Academic Alliance Program, sponsored by the Advanced Simulation and Computing Program.

CERT is dedicated to the development of computational techniques that simulate the transport of thermal radiation and predictive science techniques to quantify uncertainty in simulated results. The Center for Large-Scale Scientific Simulations, which is a joint center of Texas A&M and the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, organized the proposal for CERT and locally administers the project.

“We are examining uncertainty in radiation transport calculations due to uncertainty in the nuclear data,” Bruss said. “The problem is challenging because of the sheer size of the uncertain data. There are thousands of uncertain, correlated cross sections that must be provided as material properties for the simulation. Our method relies upon a physics-based dimension reduction, an uncertainty-based dimension reduction and an adjoint sensitivity method to reduce the dimensionality of the problem to a size we can analyze in a reasonable amount of time.” 

The two-day conference featured speakers from NNSA, and several partnership universities within the SSAP program and other collaborative programs underneath NNSA. Morel gave a presentation that included an overview of CERT and its project components, integration, methods and more.

“The conference was a fun experience and it was a very pleasant surprise to win the Outstanding Poster Award,” Bruss said. 

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