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Sandia researcher uses math to see the future

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In a way, Sandia National Laboratories computing researcher and applied mathematician Tim Wildey uses mathematics to see into the future.

His work focuses on modeling problems so accurately that he’s able to predict outcomes.


Tim Wildey

Wildey’s research recently won him an Early Career Research Program award from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

He’s the first at Sandia to win the grant in the field of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.

“It was a very humbling honor to receive this reward,” Wildey said. “I’m looking forward to spending every day over the next five years proving that they made a good decision in giving this award to me.”

The grant, awarded since 2010, provides $500,000 annually for five years.

In addition to using the money to improve the accuracy of highly complex models, Wildey said he’ll also use the funding to mentor young scientists by bringing on interns and those doing post-doctoral work.

“It’s great for students to be exposed to what it’s like working at a national lab,” he said.

Wildey said his planned research will be applicable to a variety of fields.

One of the focuses of his proposal will analyze computational models involving tokamaks, devices that could someday be used as practical nuclear fusion reactors, and try to improve them.

“We’re trying to predict how we can build these tokamak fusion devices more efficiently,” Wildey said.

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