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Research Will Include Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Approaches as well as Fundamental Theory & Simulation

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a plan to provide $30 million for new research on fusion energy. 

This funding will provide $17 million for research focused specifically on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) approaches for prediction of key plasma phenomena, management of facility operations, and accelerated discovery through data science, among other topics. 

An additional $13 million under a separate funding opportunity will be devoted to fundamental fusion theory research, including computer modeling and simulation, focused on factors affecting the behavior of hot plasmas confined by magnetic fields in fusion reactors.  

“Recent advancements in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies can bring new, transformative approaches to tackling fusion energy theories and challenges,” said Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. “The research funded under these initiatives will be integral to overcoming important barriers to the development of fusion as a practical energy source.”

“By allocating $30 million towards fusion energy, the Department of Energy is continuing its commitment to advance scientific research and U.S. global competitiveness,” said Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar. “This funding only emphasizes our support for artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.”

Applications for the AI/ML funding are open to national laboratories, universities, nonprofits, and private sector companies, working either singly or with multiple institutional partners. Total funding planned for the program is $17 million for projects of two to three years in duration, with $7 million available in FY 2020 and outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations. 

Applications for the theory funding are open to universities, nonprofits, and private sector companies.  Funding is expected to be in the form of three-year grants.  Total planned funding will be up to $13 million over three years, with up to $7 million available in FY 2020 and outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations.

The two separate DOE Funding Opportunity Announcements, along with a companion national laboratory call for the AI/ML research, are to be found on the funding opportunities page of the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences within the Department’s Office of Science.

 

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