Christopher Paolini

Christopher Paolini

Institution/Organization: San Diego State University

Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering

Academic Status: Faculty


Christopher Paolini is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at San Diego State University. Chris is the recipient of grants from the Department of Energy (DoE), NASA, California Highway Patrol (CHP), Office of Naval Research (ONR), Department of Transportation (DoT), National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities in the National Institutes of Health (NIMHHD/NIH), five NSF Office of Cyberinfrastructure awards, and an NSF I-Corps award. Chris has published 22 journal articles, 55 conference articles, and has participated in 41 professional invited talks, workshops, and panel sessions. Chris teaches courses in Database and Web Programming, Computer Networks, Introductory Computer Programming using C, and Distributed Systems/HPC. Chris’ doctoral and post-doctoral research has been in the areas of computational geochemistry, combustion engineering, computational thermodynamics, and chemical kinetics. Christopher Paolini’s research interests include computational geochemistry, high performance computing, numerical chemical thermodynamics, scientific computing and numerical modeling, numerical chemical kinetics, Internet of Things device development, machine- and deep-learning, embedded systems, cloud computing, big data analytics, software engineering, high speed (100gbps) networking, cyberinfrastructure development, and cybersecurity. Chris received a B.S. degree in Computer Science, M.S. degree in Computer Science, and a Ph.D. degree in Computational Science, all from San Diego State University.


The ECP Subsurface application code development project proposes to solve multiphysics coupling of flow, transport, reactions and mechanics for the challenge problem of CO2 invasion in wellbore cement at unprecedented scale and resolution. The challenge problem will require the usage of exascale resources on supercomputers with hardware accelerators. Key components of Chombo-Crunch will need to be ported to GPUs primarily. These include the EB CFD and transport solver, and also the Chombo/PETSc-hypre interface as well as a C++ version of CrunchFlow. Transforming captured anthropogenic CO2 to subsurface solid phase carbonate minerals through mineral trapping is a promising technology to mitigate harmful climate change from fossil fuel combustion. Reducing the time scale for geologic mineral trapping reduces risk of unwanted CO2 transport and leakage. Participation in the Sustainable Research Pathways for High-Performance Computing (SRP-HPC) Workshop with the Department of Energy Exascale Computing Project (ECP) will provide me and my doctoral students unprecedented exposure to computational geochemistry methods, applications, and resources for advancing climate science research at the Berkeley National Laboratory. The subsurface transport code I have been developing at San Diego State University (SDSU) uses a finite difference method for solving a solute mass transport PDE, and finite element methods for solving models governing porous media flow, poroelasticity, and aqueous-phase thermal transport. I am implementing the LBNL Chombo framework and applying AMR in high-permeability regions, sandstone-shale interfaces, and near-wellbore zones, to evaluate the volumetric sweep efficiency of a proposed oil recovery process. Additionally, I am integrating within my code the reactive transport capability of Chombo-Crunch (provided by the CrunchFlow geochemistry module) to evaluate the modelling of rapid carbonate mineral precipitation for reservoir permeability modification. In addition, I am exploring synergies that may be achieved through coordinated geologic carbon sequestration, enhanced oil recovery, and biofuel generation, using produced water (PW) from oil and gas operations as a growth medium for microalgae cultivation. Use of produced water as medium for algae growth will reduce cost of disposal which is currently transferred to the customer by oil and gas operations. Additionally, reducing disposal reduces risks of induced seismicity. Collaboration with Dr. David Trebotich and his group at LBNL provides me and my students guidance on new ways of modelling chemical transport, biological growth, and geomechanics processes. Dr. Trebotich provides our subsurface simulation research group at SDSU with direction on better numerical methods to employ, to improve computational scalability, so we can execute finer-resolution simulations on massively parallel clusters.