SMU professor Harsha Gangammanavar is leading a multidisciplinary team to develop algorithms that improve complex energy systems—like the management of the energy grid under intermittent renewable power.

DOE awards SMU-led research team $2 million grant for algorithms improving complex energy systems

Harsha Gangammanavar, a professor at SMU, leads a multidisciplinary team responsible for developing algorithms that improve complex energy systems, such as energy grid management in intermittent renewable energy.

Since the “great freeze” hit Texas in 2021, revealing problems in the state’s power grid that have led to long blackouts – and 246 deaths statewide, according to the Department of Health Services of the state – people sought solutions to ensure a reliable energy supply in the state. Part of this research includes ways to improve how renewable energy sources like wind and solar work with the grid.

Now, Professor SMU Harsha Gangammanavar, assistant professor in the department of operations research and engineering management at the Lyle School of Engineering, leads a multidisciplinary team including researchers from Ohio State University, University of California du South and Argonne National Laboratory in a $2 million investment. A US Department of Energy research project that will address issues in the broad field of computational mathematics for sustainability, such as energy grid management in the context of intermittent renewable energy.

“Our main goal is to study randomization-based (stochastic) computational optimization algorithms and new analysis techniques, allowing us to support solutions to problems far beyond our current capabilities,” Gangammanavar said in a statement.

Develop new algorithms for materials design, bioengineering and power grid applications

SMU’s grant is one of four included in an $8.5 million package for fundamental research in the development of randomized algorithms to understand and improve the properties and behavior of complex energy. The research aims to develop new algorithms for materials design, bioengineering and power grid applications, SMU said.

“Innovative approaches are needed to accelerate the time to resolution of a wide range of challenges in science and energy research. The development of random algorithms and other classes of algorithms is important to enable scientific advances and high-performance computing,” said Barbara Helland, DOE Associate Director of Science for Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR), via the announcement of the grant,

The ASCR program coordinates research based on high-performance computing to solve the nation’s most pressing issues in energy, climate change and human health, SMU said.

The team will use SMU’s high performance computing system

Gangammanavar’s team will use SMU’s high-performance computing system, specifically enhanced with an NVIDIA DGX SuperPODTM, along with supercomputing resources from Argonne National Laboratory to evaluate the performance of random algorithms and ultimately implement those compatible with a high performance computing environment. The NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD is an AI data center infrastructure platform that enables IT to deliver uncompromising performance for every user and every workload.

“Dr. Gangamanavar’s ability to bring together a multidisciplinary team of researchers from multiple universities while leveraging SMU’s data science and supercomputing capabilities is a great example of SMU’s commitment to generating impactful research” , said Elizabeth G. Loboa, vice president of SMU, in a statement, “The contributions her team will make through this grant will help address real-world challenges, both today and in the future. “

The news comes at the SuperCompute 2022 conference in Dallas

SMU’s announcement comes during a week when Dallas is the epicenter of the supercomputing world. The annual international conference on high-performance computing, networking, storage and analytics, known this year as SC22, kicked off Sunday and runs through Friday at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, downtown -City of Dallas. More than 200 sessions are featured this week representing “countless learning experiences” in high performance computing. For more information, go here.

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