New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge

Controlling an Oil Spill

Team: 47

School: Los Alamos High

Area of Science: Environmental/ Physics


Interim: Team Number: 47
School Name: Los Alamos High School
Area of Science: Environmental/ Physics
Project Title: Controlling an Oil Spill

Problem Definition:
Recent events in the past decade have brought to light the potentially catastrophic effects of oil spills. Repercussions on local human economies and environmental biodiversity necessitate an effective cleanup response. Common cleanup methods involve isolation with booms, chemical alteration to cause the oil to sink, and using bacteria to break up the slick. Our aim in this project is to focus on the placement of booms because of their convenient implementation in a model and current significance among cleanup efforts. In order to optimize oil cleanup with this method we hope to make an algorithm to find the best configurations of booms, taking into account fluid conditions and dynamics.

Problem Solution:
We hope to achieve this optimization by utilizing a genetic algorithm or some other form of machine learning. To find the most effective placements, we will model the spread of the oil and then look at how the different configurations fare in the task. In the genetic algorithm, the placements that do the best will be used to generate the next generation making the placements better fit the spill after every iteration.

Progress to Date:
So far, we have looked into some different methods for modeling fluid dynamics and how to implement them into our problem. We looked at the realistic oil spill methods to decide on which method we would try to implement in our model. We have begun preliminary work on our model, such as a framework for the spill environment within a dynamic fluid.

Expected Results:
With our model, we hope to be able to predict the best boom placement for any given spill, making cleanup efforts more effective in future spills. Our model should be able to adapt to different conditions and consistently find the best arrangement.

Team Members: William Zhao, Jacob Holesinger

Sponsoring Teacher: Adam Drew


Team Members:

  Jacob Holesinger
  william zhao

Sponsoring Teacher: Adam Drew

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