To predict the output of a wind farm, the weather or the blood flow through a heart valve, accurate fluid flow models are needed. CWI researcher Benjamin Sanderse received a Vidi grant of 800,000 euro from NWO to develop a new generation of models to solve these complex fluid flow equations. With the grant, Sanderse can develop his own innovative line of research and set up a research group within the next five years. He will introduce a new type of fluid flow models, based on discrete mathematics, improving the accuracy and stability of simulations compared to existing models.
The main challenge in this research project - ‘Discretize first, reduce next: a new paradigm to closure models for fluid flow simulation’ - is the construction of new 'closure models'. Such closure models are needed to represent physical phenomena that are too time-consuming to be simulated on a computer. For instance, to predict next week’s weather, researchers would like to simulate the appearance and movements of individual clouds, but this would require so much computational resources, that the forecast would not be ready today. The existing approach to construct closure models is to simplify the equations that describe fluid flows (the well-known Navier-Stokes equations) by using tools from continuous mathematics: partial differential equations.
Sanderse will use a new route, namely using techniques from discrete mathematics, to develop new discrete closure models. These models will be employed to predict turbulent flows that occur in wind farms and multiphase flows such as in pipeline transport networks. Moreover, the new models that will be developed are in fact useful far beyond fluid flows: many phenomena in physics, chemistry, astronomy, and biology involve a closure problem, in which not all scales of motion can be resolved on a computer. In other words, the mathematical techniques that will be developed in this Vidi project have the potential to form new building blocks for simulating many complex problems in computational science.
About Vidi winner Benjamin Sanderse
Benjamin Sanderse is a tenured researcher in the Scientific Computing group at CWI. He has extensive experience in (computational) fluid dynamics, differential equations, and uncertainty quantification from working in academia, at research institutes and in industry. Recently his interest lies in the smart integration of data with physical models, through development of techniques such as reduced order models, Bayesian calibration, and machine learning algorithms. In these topics, he tries to find connections between continuous and discrete mathematics to develop new models and algorithms.
Vidi grants are part of the NWO Talent Programme to encourage curiosity-driven and innovative research. The Dutch Research Council (NWO) selects researchers based on the quality of the researcher, the innovative character of the research, the expected scientific impact of the research proposal and the possibilities for knowledge utilization. During this year’s Vidi round a total of 503 researchers submitted a research project for funding. Eighty-one of them have now received grants.