Past Awardee

High-Throughput Computing for the Analysis of Fractured Aquifers

Douglas D. Walker
Douglas D. Walker

College: Illinois State Water Survey
Award year: 2003-2004

The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS), an affiliated member of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been conducting research in and developing technologies for characterizing groundwater resources for over 50 years. Recent research has lead to a reexamination of hydraulic and tracer tests used in the characterization of fractured dolomite aquifers, an important water resource in Illinois. Methods for interpreting hydraulic tests have been developed to infer the flow dimension of fractured systems, but it is not yet known what types of herogeneity lead to the non-radial flow dimensions where radial flow is anticipated. Identifying complex stochastic models of heterogeneity corresponding to specific flow dimensions requires Monte Carlo simulation on a scale that far exceeds the capacity of the ISWS. In collaboration with the NCSA, the proposed research will enhance and extend a preliminary Monte Carlo simulator to perform the analysis. The resulting code will be ported to the Condor distributed computing environment accessible through NCSA. A series of Monte Carlo simulations will be conducted to identify models of heterogeneity that reproduce the flow dimension observed for dolomite aquifers in Illinois. The proposed activities will also include visualization and conference presentations of the results.

The proposed research is expected to produce a number of benefits to the State of Illinois, the science of hydrogeology, and the NCSA. The research is expected to improve the management of a groundwater resource of importance to the State of Illinois. The research will have broad applicability, since fractured rock systems are encountered all over the world and these site characterization methods are widely used in science and engineering. This project will disseminate and promote the use of NCSA technologies for high-performance and distributed computing, and build the technological capabilities of the ISWS. The ISWS will commit 15% of the PI for one year and support the training and research activities of a Ph.D. candidate for one year.