PHYS:5905 Special Topics: Numerical Simulation of Plasmas

General Course Information

Professor Gregory Howes
Office 505 Van Allen Hall
Phone (319) 335-1221
E-mail gregory-howes {at} uiowa dot edu
Office Hours 10:00-11:00am M
10:00am-12:00pm W
or by appointment
Catalog Description The course will introduce the basics of the discretization and numerical integration of differential equations, as well as the determination of the order of convergence and stability of numerical algorithms. Popular algorithms for both fluid and kinetic simulation of plasmas will be discussed, covering major simulation approaches including finite-difference, spectral, and N-body methods as well as explicit and implicit timestepping with consideration of stability and efficiency. Optimization of numerical algorithms will be presented, including parallel computing using message passing (MPI) and multi-threading (OpenMP) standards. We will survey a wide range of publicly available codes accessible to the scientific community for the study of plasma physics, space physics, and astrophysics.
Meeting Tuesday and Thursday 9:30am - 10:45 am, 201 Van Allen Hall
Textbook No required texts
Grading Class Attendance and Participation: 20%
Homework: 50%
Final Project: 30%
  1. Single Particle Motion and Numerical Integration Techniques
  2. Fluid Simulation
  3. Kinetic Simulation
  4. Parallelization
  5. Optimization, Validation, and Visualization
  6. Practical Aspects of Scientific Computing