Combustion has provided society with most of its energy needs for millenia, from igniting the fires of cave dwellers to propelling the rockets that traveled to the Moon. Even in the face of climate change and the increasing availability of alternative energy sources, fossil fuels will continue to be used for many decades. However, they will likely become more expensive, and pressure to minimize undesired combustion by-products (pollutants) will likely increase. The trends in the continued use of fossil fuels and likely use of alternative combustion fuels call for more rapid development of improved combustion systems. In January 2009, the Multi-Agency Coordinating Committee on Combustion Research (MACCCR) requested that the National Research Council (NRC) conduct a study of the structure and use of a cyberinfrastructure (CI) for combustion research. The charge to the authoring committee of Transforming Combustion Research through Cyberinfrastructure was to: identify opportunities to improve combustion research through computational infrastructure (CI) and the potential benefits to applications; identify necessary CI elements and evaluate the accessibility, sustainability, and economic models for various approaches; identify CI that is needed for education in combustion science and engineering; identify human, cultural, institutional, and policy challenges and how other fields are addressing them. Transforming Combustion Research through Cyberinfrastructure also estimates the resources needed to provide stable, long-term CI for research in combustion and recommends a plan for enhanced exploitation of CI for combustion research.
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