Alie Akins selected for the 2021 Women & Minority Summer Research Program

Nuclear engineering sophomore student, Alie Akins, has received an extremely competitive research award from the College of Engineering Women & Minority Summer Research Program (WMSRP). Alie will be working with Dr. Xu Wu, assistant professor of nuclear engineering.

The objective of the project is to use Scientific Machine Learning (SciML) methods to solve a simplified nuclear reactor simulation model. The model consists of the Point Reactor Kinetics Equation (PRKE) coupled with lumped parameter thermal-hydraulics feedback, which is a system of four Ordinary Differential Equations (ODEs). This model describes the transient behavior of the normalized power level, the delayed neutron precursor concentrations, the effective fuel and coolant temperatures during an Reactivity Insertion Accident (RIA). SciML is a core component of Artificial Intelligence (AI). It consists of computational technologies that can be trained with scientific data to augment or automate human skills. To solve the nuclear reactor model with SciML, they will develop a numerical approach to solve the coupled ODEs with Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs). This project will provide innovative methodologies to the nuclear community on employing the most recent developments in SciML to tackle classical problems in nuclear engineering community.

The 2021 WMSRP is a funded 10-week program providing high quality research experience along with strong research mentoring support to help students navigate the summer experience and develop research skills and confidence during the process.