Research Update: Semester 1

Today I’m feeling okay about my research so I thought I’d take that opportunity to give an update. Now why would it matter if I’m feeling ‘okay’ about it? Why don’t I just always want to talk about it?! Isn’t it awesome!? Well, yes, my research is neat. However, I have jumped into this project at a rather slow stage. Let me explain;

The technical, want to impress people way to explain what I’m studying is;

“I am studying the acceleration and disruption of cold gas in galaxy outflows using hydrodynamic simulations that include magnetic fields and anisotropic conduction.”

Cool, right? You’ll even find this exact description on my advisors page about his research group. Now, the easier to understand way to say what I do is;

“I make computer models to study how magnetic fields effect how cold gas is disrupted as warm gas passes by it. I get to use supercomputers.”

 So now that we all have the general idea of what I do, we can get the specifics. Since I write computer models, there is a lot of testing and debugging to make sure the program is working correctly. This is where I joined the effort. My advisor, collaborator and I are working to write some code that correctly models the magnetic field aspect of the problem. In August when I started, it wasn’t working.
And now, in December, it’s still not working.
 : /
You can see why sometimes even the thought of my research makes me frustrated! Every time we think we make progress, we realize that its actually just a larger, more poorly understood problem. However, today I’ll focus on the steps forward, no matter how small they feel.
In the past four months I have;
  • learned how to run problems on a supercomputer
  • worked with tech support to get the Hypre linear solver installed on the supercomputer
  • figured out how to compile the new program
  • found an indexing error in the matrix construction
  • wrote a routine to print out checkpoint variables
  • changed and adjusted the checkpoint variables
  • avoided an issue with the boundaries, by moving the box of cold gas to the center of the simulation
  • learned how the Hypre code works
  • got much more comfortable with the text editor vi and using the command line


So; this is what I look at all the time – regardless of whether its working or not….


Here’s to more progress next semester!


5 thoughts on “Research Update: Semester 1

  1. It looks like you are containing sunshine in a box on your screen. Release the sun! 🙂

  2. “Big things have small beginnings.” – Prometheus “The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” – Chinese Proverb

    I’m interested in supercomputers – what makes them super? That their huge? That they have lots of storage? That they’re very fast? Do they have super powers?

  3. Glad to hear that you are getting more comfortable with vi and the command line as that implies a greater understanding of the process. 🙂

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