The application of high performance computing to model subsurface processes occurring over multiple spatial and temporal scales is a science grand challenge that has important implications to society at large. Research on this grand challenge is at the confluence of advanced mathematics, computer science, fluid and solid mechanics and applied probability and statistics. The researchers propose a fresh new perspective by investigating and formulating rigorous error estimators for the numerical schemes employed to model multiphysics, multiscale processes in subsurface media. These error estimators when coupled with advanced computational methods can significantly speed up the task of uncertainty assessment and feedback control of subsurface processes. The uncertainty quantification scheme will use a computer framework that rigorously takes into account the dynamic and complex communication and coordination patterns resulting from multiphysics, multinumerics, multiscale and multidomain couplings. In addition, this project investigates realistic physical models such as carbon sequestration in saline aquifers with real field data from the Cranfield Mississippi demonstration site.
The ultimate transformative goal is to achieve predictive and decisional simulations, in which engineers reliably predict, control, and manage human interaction with geosystems. There are numerous applications that would benefit from a better understanding and integration of porous flow and solid deformation such as surface subsidence, pore collapse, cavity generation, hydraulic fracturing, thermal fracturing, wellbore collapse, sand production and fault reactivation. Moreover, the underlying computational technology will be available to other areas of science and engineering for many other applications. Included are the solver technology, and the algorithms to be developed involving high fidelity numerical simulation of partial differential equations. In order to foster collaboration between researchers with diverse backgrounds and technical expertise, the researchers propose a unique summer research residency program. Under this program the entire team will come together for a two week period during the summer and participate in a series of short courses and seminars presented by the senior researchers on the project. Outreach to high schools is planned through the sequestration training, outreach, research & education (STORE) initiative jointly between the Bureau of Economic Geology, UT Institute of Geophysics and the Center for Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at UT Austin.