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Computational Science and Engineering in Space Exploration

Dr. Charles D. Norton
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

October 27, 2008
JEC 3117, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Refreshments at 3:30 p.m.


Computational science and engineering for design and assessment of current and future JPL flight projects has emerged as a way to enable mission success. In this survey talk, I will describe the role of high performance computation, observing system simulation experiments (OSSEs), and uncertainty quantification techniques applied to various areas in science and engineering as methods to address complexity for topics of importance to JPL. In the Earth sciences OSSEs allow one to quantify the impact of the science returned from a mission concept based on design trade analysis of mission and instrument performance characteristics. This approach has been used in the numerical weather prediction (NWP) community for over 40 years, but is now finding it's way to other disciplines relevant to Earth observational science. Integration of simulation models and mechanisms for data transfer are an underlying component technology to this work. JPL is also active in high performance computing applied to engineering design, such as safe rover traversal, Mars Entry Descent and Landing, as well as in mission design for geophysical observations including Earthquake science. An overview of these areas concluding with mechanisms applied to identify and quantify uncertainties in engineering systems that cross discipline boundaries will be discussed.


Charles is a Principal Member of Technical Staff and Strategic Initiative Leader for Advanced Simulation and Modeling at JPL. He received his B.S.E. in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science from Princeton University and his M.S. and Ph.D in Computer Science from Rensselaer. Charles is a recipient of the JPL Lew Allen Award, NASA Nova Award, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.

Hosted by: Dr. Boleslaw K. Szymanski (x2714)

Last updated: October 13, 2008