On Islands, Lakes and Trenches - A journey to understand magnetic reconnection

Li-Ta “Ollie” Lo from Los Alamos National Laboratory will be giving a research talk titled: On Islands, Lakes and Trenches - A journey to understand magnetic reconnection

Title: On Islands, Lakes and Trenches - A journey to understand magnetic reconnection

Abstract: Mysterious structures known as “islands” and the phenomenon called “magnetic reconnection” are very important in the study of plasma physics. Islands are regions of closed field lines, confining charged particles while reconnection sites are where interesting physics happens. At these points kinetic plasma processes can break and reconnect magnetic field lines, changing the global topology of the magnetic field. This also allows particles to enter or leave islands. The interaction of islands can lead to the production of secondary reconnection sites. Robustly identifying all islands and reconnection sites in the large output of modern computer simulations is challenging. In this talk, I will tell a story on how an old collaboration between Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Leeds serendipitously led to the application of topological data analysis in identifying them.

Presenter: Li-Ta “Ollie” Lo,  Los Alamos National Laboratory received a B.S. in Physics from National Chung-Hsing University in 1995 and a M.S. in Applied Mechanics from National Taiwan University in 1997. He joined Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2003, after working in the semiconductor industry for 4 years writing Linux device drivers. As a multi-disciplined, multi-cultured person, he has enjoyed working with several teams and a diverse set of projects during his career at LANL. His current research interest includes data science, large-scale visualization and analysis, data-parallel programming, software engineering for scientific computing, and topology. He is one of LANL’s representatives to the international standard committee of the C++ programming language.