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Method and Realisation of Parallel Computing for Switching Arc Simulation based on a Mix of Structured and Unstructured Grids

Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics

About the Project

This project is part of a 4-year Dual PhD degree programme between the National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan) and the University of Liverpool (England). As part of the NTHU-UoL Dual PhD Award students are in the unique position of being able to gain 2 PhD awards at the end of their degree from two internationally recognised world-leading Universities. As well as benefiting from a rich cultural experience, students can draw on large-scale national facilities of both countries and create a worldwide network of contacts across two continents.

The latest set of projects targeted goal #11 from the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Sustainable Cities and Communities.
The power industry is undergoing significant reforms towards sustainable and low carbon solutions, including the design and manufacturing of environmentally friendly electrical equipment. Computer modelling has proven an effective tool for economical and rapid product design and prototyping. Driven by the fast development in technologies relating to parallel computing and engineering simulation and the pressing need for low carbon solutions, it is timely to combine the advances in computer science with the understanding of electrical engineering processes to achieve, in a creative approach, a real impact in power equipment design and manufacturing.
The proposed project has been developed to tackle the technical challenges faced by global switchgear manufacturers. Switchgear, especially power circuit breakers, is a complex system involving thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, electromagnetism and plasma polymer interaction. It is large in size and time-consuming in product development involving costly tests. Yet, it is non-replaceable to protect the electricity network so continuity of power supply can be ensured.

The group at the University of Liverpool has been at the forefront of studying and searching for environmentally friendly technologies for switching devices. A simulation platform, which is based on the research in the past two decades, has been taken up by a number of international manufacturers to speed up their development of new products. The typical design time has been shortened by 50%. However, the computational time is becoming a bottle neck in the decision making process to search for the most suitable working solution out of a large number of technical options.

The group at National Tsinghua University (NTHU, Taiwan) is specialised in parallel computing theory and applications. Supported by a supervisory team drawn from Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and built on the existing excellent research at both universities, the candidate is expected to develop expert understanding of the modelling needs for engineering systems such as switching arcs and thermal plasmas in the first stage.

This will then be followed by the establishment of an efficient strategy and relevant algorithms for rapid data exchange between the computing nodes, dynamic adjustment of the grid system in response to the variation of system behaviour, and the parallelisation of computation. In the third stage, the strategy will be implemented in a commercial software package (with many parallel computing tools already built in) and tested against known results for its efficiency. In addition, the candidate will have the opportunity to interact with design engineers from large international manufacturers to gain valuable knowledge and skills that are directly relevant to product design and optimisation.

The candidate should have a background in engineering, physics, mathematics or computer science with excellent skills in engineering mathematics and programming.

Applicants should apply via the University of Liverpool application form, for a PhD in the subject area listed above via:

For academic enquires please contact Professor J D Yan () or Professor J Chou ().

For enquires on the application process or to find out more about the Dual programme please contact School of Electrical Engineering and Electronics Postgraduate Officer ()

Funding Notes

This project is a part of a 4-year dual PhD programme between National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan) and the University of Liverpool (England). Students should spend equal time studying in each institution. Both the UoL and NTHU have agreed to waive the tuition fees for the duration of the project and stipend of $11,000 TWD/£280 GBP a month will be provided as a contribution to living costs. When applying please ensure you Quote the supervisor & project title you wish to apply for and note ‘NTHU-UoL Dual Scholarship’ when asked for details of how plan to finance your studies.

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