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NCSA Houses New DOE-funded Center Led by Illinois Aerospace Engineering

Photograph of metal machinery with glowing cyan material being processed

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) is thrilled to house the new Center for Exascale-Enabled Scramjet Design (CEESD) funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The announcement was released today by Grainger College of Engineering’s Department of Aerospace Engineering (AE) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The DOE awarded $16.5 million distributed over five years for the center’s development through its National Nuclear Security Administration’s Advanced Simulation and Computing program.

CEESD is an interdisciplinary effort at Illinois that serves as a nexus where hypersonics engineering analysis and design intersects with NCSA’s expertise and HPC resources.

High-performance computing is enabling for our design goals, and the center will, at the same time, provide a unique educational experience. The computer science students will be trained to work effectively with computational scientists, who are facing challenging prediction goals. Likewise, computational scientists will learn computer science approaches and opportunities within the team structure.

William “Bill” Gropp, NCSA Director and CEESD Co-Director and Computer Science Lead

Led by Jonathan Freund, CEESD co-director and principal investigator, Willett professor, and AE department head, believes air-breathing hypersonic propulsion is the key to expanding access to space, defense, and accelerating global transport. “The needed supersonic combustion ramjets (scramjets) have been demonstrated but are insufficiently engineered for many applications,” says Freund. “Their promise is revolutionary, but their challenge is profound—to maintain combustion, with its modest flame speeds, in supersonic airflow.”

Read AE’s full press release.


The National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides supercomputing and advanced digital resources for the nation’s science enterprise. At NCSA, University of Illinois faculty, staff, students and collaborators from around the globe use these resources to address research challenges for the benefit of science and society. NCSA has been advancing many of the world’s industry giants for over 35 years by bringing industry, researchers and students together to solve grand challenges at rapid speed and scale.

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