Modelling and Simulation: Practical Engineering Applications (17w2689)

Arriving in Banff, Alberta Friday, September 1 and departing Sunday September 3, 2017


Zhenghe Xu (University of Alberta)

(Western University)

(University of Calgary)


This proposed BIRS workshop will focus on several important topics that have fundamental scientific merits and significant engineering application values. Energy, environment, chemical processing, nanotechnology and information modelling and simulation require the collaborative efforts of a diverse group to maximize the outcomes, including basic science from scientists, technical expertise from engineers, modelling and numerical skills of mathematicians and the modern techniques of computer scientists. The simulation and modelling work is challenged by numerical solutions to coupled systems of nonlinear, multiscale and time-dependent partial differential equations (PDEs). There are multiple temporal and spatial scales and nonlinear effects presented and large scale and long time simulation required. The proposed workshop will promote, enhance and stimulate cross-continental research interactions and collaborations in mathematics, science, and engineering impacting the modeling and simulation field by bringing many minds together for unique and meaning solutions.

The first objective of this workshop is to bring together world-class active researchers in science and engineering modelling and simulation. Discussions will address past, recent and upcoming practical applications of prospective advances. The speakers will summarize important advances from the past five years and share their knowledge of the current problems, state-of-the-art novel techniques, and ideas to address major challenges. The breadth of challenges will engage all the participants to consider how their niche knowledge can be used to advance the work of each participant. This becomes an excellent vehicle to the development of new techniques and creative solutions for modelling and simulation challenges. The intent is to invite junior researchers as well. They need to be mentored and connected to the leaders of the fields, building strong relationships. The unique perspectives and the outcomes of their research and application will set the directions in the new century.

A second objective is to utilize this workshop as a platform to establish an Association of Chinese Professors in Canada. China is Canada’s second largest trading partner, a relationship that continues to grow, tripling since 2003. The establishment of such Association will enhance the bilateral relationship between Canada and China in education, research, culture and economy.

Some of the Workshop themes include:

A. Multiphase Fluid Flow and Transport

Energy and environmental modelling has diverse fluid flow and transport problems. These problems involve coupled systems of nonlinear, time-dependent partial differential equations that are often degenerate. The focus of this area will be on the origin and derivation of their models, the analysis of their nonlinear effects and consequences for real applications.

B. Interfacial Phenomena in Mineral and Material Processing

Effective processing of Alberta oil sands to extract bitumen will secure Canadian energy sources for the next 200 years and flotation shows great promise for primary separation. In flotation, various colloidal interactions determine the success and efficiency of separation. It is essential to understand these interactions. Their study involves measuring the forces between various phases directly with the atomic force microscope, complemented by a contact angle and zeta potential measurements. Their fundamental knowledge will be used to understand the problems encountered in the existing oil extraction processes and to develop a more versatile, effective process.

C. Spatially Explicit Carbon and Water Cycle Modelling

Various inverse modelling techniques are currently available for estimating regional carbon fluxes using atmospheric CO2 concentration observations. However, the number of currently available observation stations is still sparse relative to the size of the global surface and this limits the number of regions that can be reliably inverted globally without using additional information as constraints to the inversion. New inverse modelling and simulation techniques must be developed for estimating carbon fluxes over more regions globally and with finer grids of these regions.

D. Air Pollution and Industrial Wastes

In the air pollution area, the workshop emphasis is on pollution prevention through emission abatement and the fate and transport of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) in the lower troposphere. Reaction kinetics of multi-phase systems need to be studied and efficient sulphur-producing flue gas desulphurization (FGD) technologies need to be developed. Natural processes at various scales from the sorption of acidic gases onto the surface of ice crystals to the below-cloud snow scavenging of gaseous and aerosol-associated HAPs need to be studied. A better understanding of the underlying chemistry and physics in these natural processes through modelling and simulation will lead to a greater confidence in the identification of the environmental pathways of pollutants and quantifying their effects on air quality and climate change.

E. Nonlinear Effects on Propagation Properties of Numerical Models

The propagation properties, such as stability, amplitude and phase portraits of nonlinear flow and transport processes are not easily determined. Convergence of numerical algorithms utilized in modelling and simulation of these processes is not easily shown. A fully nonlinear analysis is limited to specific forcing terms and initial conditions. Current approaches employed in the treatment of nonlinear effects on the propagation properties of numerical models of flow and transport processes and operator splitting solution schemes will be discussed.

In addition to the regular workshop presentations, there will be also considerable time for interactions between participants (a tentative list of individuals invited to participate is included). The workshop organizers will coordinate round-table sessions where questions and answers can be shared. Due to the high-level and interdisciplinary nature of the participants invited, those who attend this proposed workshop will be exposed to novel ideas and build new relationships for future collaborations. The workshop presentations, discussion at the round-table sessions and possible future collaborations among the participants will support significant progress of mathematics, science and engineering modelling and simulation.

The workshop organizers believe in equality and will ensure that youth and women, often underrepresented in these events, are invited to attend.

A list of potential speakers is included. An invitation has been sent to every proposed speaker in this list, and 80% of them have indicated their intent to participate in the workshop. The speakers are chosen to explore a range of modeling and simulation techniques for phenomena arising from mathematics, science and engineering. Clearly, some of the proposed speakers including Xiaoyi Bao, Jingming Chen, Ming Li, Weihong Song, Ke Wu, Zhenghe Xu, En-hui Yang, and Jesse Zhu are world-renowned and prominent scientists and engineers; they are all Fellows of Royal Society of Canada and their participation will bring a lot of appeal to the proposed workshop. We look forward to them sharing their perspectives on newest developments in modeling and simulation.

Organizing Committee: Zhangxing (John) Chen, University of Calgary Zhenghe Xu, University of Alberta Jesse Zhu, University of Western Ontario

Dr. John Chen is a Professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, currently holds the NSERC/AI-EES/Foundation CMG Industrial Research Chair in Reservoir Simulation and AITF (iCORE) Industrial Chair in Reservoir Modeling, and is the Director of iCentre for Simulation & Visualization, University of Calgary and the Director of Global Initiative in Research on Unconventional Oil and Gas: The Beijing Site. His Ph.D. (1991) is from Purdue University, USA. He was a professor and reservoir engineer at Xi’an Jiaotong University, Peking University, University of Minnesota, Texas A&M University, Mobil, and Southern Methodist University (SMU). Dr. Chen held the Gerald J. Ford Professorship at SMU, Dallas, Texas, USA, and was awarded the Chang Jiang Chaired Professorship by the Chinese Ministry of Education and “Thousand Talents” by the Chinese Government. Other significant appointments include Director of the Center for Scientific Computation, SMU, Director of the Center for Advanced Reservoir Modeling and Simulation, Peking University, and President of the Chinese Association of Science and Technology in Texas. He has written and/or edited 16 books, published 586 research papers, holds 15 international patents, and has given over 352 invited (plenary and keynote) presentations worldwide. He has received numerous prestigious awards, such as NSERC’s Synergy Award for Innovation, Outstanding Leadership in Alberta Technology Award, IBM Faculty Award, Imperial Oil University Research Award and Gerald J. Ford Research Fellowship Award. His research interest is in Reservoir Engineering and Simulation for conventional and unconventional oil and gas reservoirs.

Dr. Zhenghe Xu (Professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Alberta, Canada) is the president of Metallurgical and Materials Society of Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, and a member of International Mineral Processing Council. He graduated with B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Minerals Engineering in 1982 and 1985, respectively, from Central-South Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Changsha, China; and Ph.D. in Materials Engineering Science in 1990 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. Dr. Xu is Canada Research Chair in Mineral Processing and NSERC-Industry Research Chair in Oil Sands Engineering. He is also a distinguished visiting professor at Tsinghua University of China (July 2011 – June 2017) and a visiting professor at Kumamoto University of Japan (October 2016 – March 2018).

Dr. Xu’s main research area is interfacial sciences as applied to natural resources processing and utilization. He published over 360 peer-reviewed scientific journal papers and 60 technical conference proceeding papers along with three US patents, one Canadian patent, co-authored one book and co-edited two books, with 12 book chapters. Dr. Xu was named Teck professor in 2007, and elected to Fellow of Canadian Academy of Engineering in 2008 and Fellow of Royal Society of Canada in 2015. He was awarded the Bantrel Award in Design and Industrial Practice of Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering in 2009, the APEGA Frank Spragins Award in 2012, The Teck Environmental Award in 2013, Syncrude Award for Excellence in Sustainable Development of CIM in 2015, and MetSoc Award for Research Excellence in 2016.

Dr. Jesse Zhu is a Distinguished University Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, at Western University, in London, Ontario, Canada. He is also a Fellow of Royal Society of Canada and Canadian Academy of Engineering. Dr. Zhu received his B. Eng. from Tsinghua University (1982) and PhD from the University of British Columbia in Canada (1988). After working several years as a Research Scientist for Shell Research in the Netherlands, he started teaching at Western University in 1993, where he quickly attained full professorship in 1999. By the same year, he established the world renowned Particle Technology Research Centre at Western and has served as its Director since then.

Dr. Zhu has many years of experience in the research area of powder handling, fluid-particle and multi-phase flow systems. His contributions to fundamental research and technology developments can be reflected by the over 350 referred journal publications, the large number of patents, the over 150 Masters and PhD students graduated and Post Doctoral Fellows trained under his supervision, and the international scholarly activities such as chairing international conferences and serving as journal editors and editorial board members. Currently he has a large research group of over 30 people, working on a very wide range of projects spanning over chemical, biochemical, materials, pharmaceutical and environmental industries. In addition to fundamental research, he is particularly active in technology development and transfer, with 20 granted patents in powder technology. Some of the inventions have been commercialized and/or are now in the process of being commercialized. Many awards were credited to his research achievements including the three major awards given by the Canadian Society of Chemical Engineering (R.S.Jane Memorial, Bentral and Syncrude), and the Fluidization Lectureship Award by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and several major awards from his university (the Hellmuth Prize for Achievement in Research, the Engineering Prize for Achievement in Research and the Engineering Award of Recognition), plus several honours from China including Outstanding Young Scholars, Yangtz Lecture Professorship, and Honorary Professor of Tianjin University.