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Jesse Colon Villalon - Internship at IPP Garching

Internship at the Max-Planck Institute for Plasma Physics - Garching, Germany
Reported by Jesse Colon Villalon. Powered by FuseNet.

In the period between April and July 2016, I did a master internship at the Max-Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Germany. The institute is located in Garching near Munich and is home to the ASDEX Upgrade tokamak. The aim of my internship was to optimise the code that is currently being used by the ASDEX Upgrade team to locate the centre positions of the magnetic islands in real time, when they are formed during a tokamak discharge.

Working at ASDEX Upgrade

In order to optimise the code, I started by inspecting the results of the original code which showed the positions of the centre of the magnetic islands as function of time. Based on these results, I had to determine in which situation the code produced false results and why this was the case, after which, of course, I had to come up with possible corrections for these errors. Finally, I implemented some of these corrections into the original code to improve its capability of locating the positions of the magnetic islands in the fusion plasma.

Since this internship was my first experience working in an institute like IPP, work sometimes felt overwhelming and rather challenging, because there seemed to be so much more that I could have done, even though my project was well constrained. However, with some help from my supervisors I managed to face the challenge and, in the end, improved the code in the way that I was intended to. As such, my improvements will from now on be included in the localisation algorithm that will be used during future discharges at ASDEX-U. 


Munich: an unique place in Germany

During my stay, I lived in a neighbourhood in the north of Munich and I have to say that I was very surprised by the way of life there. Especially since the only city that I had previously visited in Germany was Berlin, which now seems like a complete opposite of Munich. Things in Bavaria work in a different way, making Bavaria a unique place in Germany. Everything is very nice and calm, which really makes you feel comfortable. Moreover, most people that I met, treated me very nicely and, even though my German is not anywhere near good, I got along just fine.

As soon as the weather became more enjoyable, the city was an amazing place to explore, going from the Marienplatz to the University district or from the English Garden to the Olympia Park to enjoy a brezn' with a beer or to get lost in the Olympic village which now houses hundreds of students. I would definitely like to go back to Munich when I have a chance to visit!


I would like to thank both of my supervisors, Dr. Matthias Reich at ASDEX-U and Dr. Hugo de Blank at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUe) for their guidance and their time, which really helped to make my internship successful. I would also like to thank Fusenet for the internship grant that I received which made this fruitful and great experience possible.