Finnish space weather researcher awarded computing time from PRACE

PRACE (Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe) awarded 60 million computing hours for Finnish research group led by professor Minna Palmroth (Computational Space Physics at University of Helsinki, Finland). Palmroth's group is investigating space weather. The computing resources were granted from one of Europe's fastest supercomputers called Hawk hosted at High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart, Germany.

Palmroth's group is investigating a space weather phenomena called substorms, periods of magnetospheric energy loading and unloading, which can lead to spacecraft failure. The group is using a simulation code called Vlasiator for the research.

– The 6D version of Vlasiator was recently published. This version of Vlasiator can properly simulate how the most influential space weather phenomena in magnetosphere, substorms, actually behave. We did the test runs with CSC's Grand Challenge resources and now these PRACE resources will be used for simulations at even higher resolutions, Palmroth explains.

The results of the research will help to understand the unpredictable substorms, with technological and societal impacts in interpreting spacecraft measurements, and devising new missions and instruments. A growing demand exists to understand spacecraft environments as the utilisation of space is in rapid increase, with markets worth of billions.

– We are enthusiastic and excited since our research relates to the unpredictable part of space weather, and researchers have tried to solve this with satellites for over 40 years. When I told about the upcoming simulations a few weeks ago in an international meeting, the atmosphere in the meeting was suddenly very hopeful – are the unpredictable problems related to substorms finally to be solved, Palmroth cheerfully says.

Screen capture from Vlasiator simulation software's earlier 5D version. Image: Minna Palmroth / University of Helsinki


Next PRACE call open – apply now  

A new PRACE call for computing resources is currently open. European researchers in academia and industry can apply for high-performance computing resources from Europe's fastest supercomputers in the PRACE (the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe) 20th Call for Proposals for Project Access.

There are nine Tier-0 supercomputing architectures from five countries available in this call. The call is open until 29 October 2019, 10:00 CET.

This call offers industrial applicants the possibility to apply to a special Industry Track which prioritises 10% of the total resources available. Industrial users can apply if they have their head offices or substantial R&D activity in Europe.

CSC will be pleased to help in preparing applications, especially in the technical aspects like scalability requirements etc. For more information about the call, systems and application process, please read more on the PRACE website.

If you are interested in the call, please contact CSC's Development Manager Sebastian von Alfthan (sebastian.von.alfthan(at), tel. +358 40 588 8688) for further information.

All awarded projects in PRACE Call 19: