Environmental Modeling Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Final Report Page: 2 of 6
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modeling, including model complexity, development cost, and the computational
demands placed by simulations of realistic multiphase systems. Moreover, the
physical models themselves are still evolving as scientific understanding of
subsurface systems improves. Numerical methods are also advancing as
researchers attempt to address the computational requirements of large-scale
A PSE would improve the current state of subsurface modeling by accelerating
the process of developing simulators, facilitating the introduction of new
scientific advancements into models, and encouraging the application of more
realistic models. The key to this approach is to combine a high-level problem
specification with a framework that is sufficiently flexible to include advanced
solution methods suited to large-scale problems, incorporate legacy solvers, and
introduce new methods as they become available. A vital requirement is that the
PSE architecture be able to produce code that can run efficiently on target
Developing a PSE capable of fully realizing the above demands is a difficult task
requiring many person-years of effort, and necessitating research on many fronts.
As a first step, we focused our efforts on developing a PSE framework flexible
enough to produce efficient solvers for a restricted but significant and meaningful
set of problems as a proof of concept. We selected several model subsurface
problems to guide the development of the PSE. The model scenarios included a
range of characteristics and difficulty in terms of the dimensionality, steady and
transient behavior, single or coupled equations, linear and nonlinear problems.
Using a broad range of physically meaningful problems helped insure that the
PSE included a sufficient and robust language for problem specification and was
flexible enough to include a set of advanced numerical techniques required for
large-scale simulations. Our target scenarios include:
1. Batch sorption using a distributed first-order model.
2. A batch model of the nitrogen cycle, including reactions and interphase mass
3. Transient groundwater flow in a confined aquifer.
4. Transient, variably saturated groundwater flow.
5. Non-reactive contaminant transport.
6. Nitrogen cycling in the vadose zone, including the solution of both
groundwater flow and transport of multiple nitrogen species.
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Miller, C.T. Environmental Modeling Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Final Report, report, December 19, 2006; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc884968/m1/2/: accessed July 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.