Published: Oct. 1, 2020 By



  • Jed Brown, CS
  • Amy Clarke (Colorado School of Mines)
  • Alireza Doostan, AES
  • Richard Regueiro, CEAE
  • Henry Tufo, CS

CU Boulder personnel:

  • Ken Jansen, AES
  • Shelley Knuth, Research Computing
  • Ron Pak, CEAE
  • Fatemeh Pourahmadian, CEAE
  • JH Song, CEAE
  • Franck Vernerey, ME
  • Yida Zhang, CEAE

Other collaborators on the project include Khalid Alshibli (University of Tennessee, Knoxville), Christian Linder (Stanford University), Hongbing Lu (University of Texas at Dallas), and Steve Sun (Columbia University) as well as the NNSA national laboratories.

Learn More

CU Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science is leading a new Multi-disciplinary Simulation Center funded by the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Advanced Simulation and Computing program to model unbonded and bonded particulate materials in support of the stockpile stewardship program. 

Richard A. Regueiro

Richard Regueiro
Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering

The $13 million project exists under the Predictive Science Academic Alliance Program (PSAAP) and in partnership with the NNSA national laboratories. It will significantly expand activities in Computational Science and Engineering for particulate materials at CU Boulder along with multiscale data-driven modeling, machine learning, and uncertainty quantification capabilities. Through it, the university joins a highly select group of Multi-disciplinary Simulation Centers across the country.

The PSAAP program aims to engage the U.S. academic community to make significant advances in predictive modeling and simulation tools through partnerships with the NNSA national laboratories. This relationship also helps recruit and train the next wave of graduate students who will explore high impact interdisciplinary research that requires experience in simulation‐based “predictive science” and advanced experimental and analytical methods. 

For this particular project, CU Boulder researchers and their collaborators will develop computational tools and conduct experiments with cutting-edge in-situ diagnostics at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, that strive to predict how particulate materials respond to different temperature, flow, and strain-rate regimes. These studies will focus on the effects of processing on the thermo-mechanical behavior of mock high explosives – bonded particulate materials that are inert and thus do not explode. The research will broadly advance predictive science for unbonded and bonded particulate materials, and all software developed will be open source and contribute to community advances in reliable predictive simulation of composite/particulate materials.

Professor Richard Regueiro in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, along with four other co-directors, will lead the research. He said a technically diverse team of engineering faculty was a big reason their proposal was selected above others for this prestigious center.

“We put together a team that has strength in various areas of interest to the PSAAP program,” he said. “These include exascale computing, community software development, computational multiscale multiphysics, materials experiments with advanced in-situ diagnostics, and – last, but not least – verification, validation and uncertainty quantification.”

Associate Dean for Research Massimo Ruzzene said the new project was one of only a handful awarded, leaving the college and university in prestigious company.

“One of our college goals is leading on interdisciplinary work and this project certainly fits that,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for us to both contribute to a national need with far ranging implications and provide an unparalleled educational opportunity for our students.”