Hoagland & Yessayan receive 2021 Mark Mills Award at ANS Winter Meeting

Congratulations to Drs. Dylan Hoagland and Raffi Yessayan, NC State nuclear engineering alumni and recipients of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) Mark Mills Award for best dissertation paper. They received this honor last week at the ANS Winter Meeting in Washington, DC.

“I believe this is the first time in the history of the Mark Mills Award that the winner is a team, not an individual. This recognizes the complementary nature of the doctoral research projects completed by Drs. Hoagland and Yessayan who won this award as a team. Their collaboration demonstrated the effectiveness of Parallel Block Jacobi (PBJ) iterations in solving radiation transport problems using an unstructured mesh on massively parallel computers. Specifically, Dr. Hoagland addressed issues with iterative convergence (due to the asynchronous nature of the underlying spatial domain decomposition) and efficient construction of the local-block operators employed in the global PBJ iterations, while Dr. Yessayan applied modern software engineering standards to the implementation of these algorithms in THOR* and created the workflow of the solution algorithm that includes mesh partitioning and the scheduling of subdomains to processes. Their work culminated in a comprehensive verification of the parallelized THOR and assessment of its parallel performance on up to 32 K processors.”

Dr. Yousry Azmy, professor & dissertation committee chair for both awardees

Hoagland’s dissertation was entitled “A Family of Hybrid Parallel Block Jacobi-Type Iterative Methods & a Novel Green’s Function Algorithm for Massively Parallel Solution of the Neutron Transport Equation on Unstructured Grids”. Dylan’s hometown is Murfreesboro, TN but grew up in Wilmington, NC. As a young boy, his interest in science was piqued watching PBS specials on string theory and quantum mechanics. He pursued degrees in nuclear engineering and is currently a Computational Nuclear Physicist with the Adaptive Computing Environment & Simulation Team at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Yessayan’s dissertation was entitled “Implementation and Optimization of Massively Parallel Spatial Domain Decompositions for Existing Deterministic Neutron Transport Codes on Cartesian and Tetrahedral Grids”. Raffi ‘s hometown is Charlotte, NC. He holds a Bachelor of Science in nuclear engineering as well as minors in French and computer programming. He accepted the five-year Consortium for Nonproliferation Enabling Capabilities Graduate Fellowship obtaining his Master of Science in nuclear engineering and a Graduate Certificate in Nuclear Nonproliferation Science and Policy. He completed his Ph.D. in nuclear engineering and Raffi is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in XCP-1: Lagrangian Codes at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The Mark Mills Award is conferred by the Education, Training and Workforce Division of the ANS and recognizes the important contributions of the late Mark Mills to nuclear science and engineering. It is presented every year to the graduate student author(s) who submit(s) the best original technical paper contributing to the advancement of science and engineering related to the atomic nucleus. NC State has had several recipients over the years – Drs. Samuel Joseph Cope & Nathan Hart (2020), Boopathy Kombaiah (2015), Ahmad Alsabbagh (2014), Kyoung O. Lee (2012), Libai Xu (2008), Xiaogang Han (2006), Weijun Guo (2004), Douglas E. Peplow (1999), Lianyan Liu (1997), Medhat Wahba Mickael (1989). Two of NC State Nuclear Enginereing professors were recipients as well – Drs. Yousry Azmy (1986) and Paul Turinsky (1971).

* THOR is my group’s Steady State, multigroup, Discrete Ordinates, transport equation solver based on unstructured tetrahedral meshes