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  • Berend Gort - internship at SPC

Hey there! I am Berend Jelmer Dirk Gort and I am a student of the Technical University of Eindhoven, currently studying Control Systems Technology (CST). I got the chance to do a three-month intership at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). In this time period, I had the chance to investigate the dynamic limitations of a new dynamic system that controls a mirror. This mirror reflects high power electromagnetic microwaves into the plasma, thereby heating up the system. I would like to thank FuseNet for providing support for my internship, and giving me the opportunity to experience life so close to the Swiss Alps!

Internship Work

The research question of my internship is simple: what are the dynamic limitations of this new microwave launcher? Up to what frequencies and speeds can we drive the poloidal angle of this mirror? I had the opportunity to design and implement every building block of the control system itself. From scratch to end. It is the first time that I have delivered such a complete product.

In fact, the control system has been already designed but the system is not even on the TCV tokamak yet. The system is now working on a mock-up. But in the way I have designed this system, the new dynamics of the final system can be identified within minutes. Thereafter, a discrete time controller can be implemented by just copying and pasting the variables of the state space format into the control environment. This allows for high performance controllers up to 8 dimensions to be implemented within seconds.

During this project, I was under the supervision of Federico Fellici and Christian Galperti. A weekly meeting would be held on my progress and decisions were made at these moments to smoothen out commissioning the real control system on the TCV tokamak. I have to thank all my supervisors for their wonderful guidance throughout the internship, allowing me to complete my work within the selected timeframe.

Swiss Alps

I lived near the EPFL, right beside train station Renens VD together with two male roommates. We shared an apartment. The average rent in Switzerland is enormously high, as well that you have to scrap together 3 months’ rent which formed the deposit. This required all of my saved money at this time instant. Also, in this area of Switzerland everybody speaks French which I can understand, but not form sentences. Only a few people speak genuinely good English.

My worst experience in Lausanne is having a hard time finding new people who you honestly connect with. Just trying to find new people with whom you can talk with like your 15 year old friends was a really hard thing to do, but eventually I found the right bunch of people.

Before I went studying in Eindhoven, I was a ski instructor for one season in the Austrian alps. Here I grew love for the mountains. What I love about the Swiss people is that they work hard all week, and then everybody from the cities stream into the alps to enjoy this massive rocky area. Therefore, I copied this behavior and spend every weekend skiing. I have seen all major areas within driving distance from Lausanne, including the Mont Blanc. Skiing around the Alps just every weekend was my best experience.. It is just so beautiful to get out there that I cannot allow myself to skip a weekend up there. Also, from Lausanne city you can actually see the white mountain ranges on the other side of the lake.

- Berend Gort