ing with extremely mature engine and burner technologies will not solve existing combustion problems. A fundamental change in the way that combustion is studied will be required to meet these societal goals. Unfortunately, combustion is a complex problem involving enormous ranges of temporal and spatial scales and a wide range of disparate disciplines. Historically, these different disciplines have studied different aspects of the combustion problem independently, with relatively loose coupling between disciplines. Traditionally this decoupling has been particularly acute between the communities dealing with the detailed characterization of molecular properties and the large-scale continuum modeling community that is focused on the complexities of modeling turbulent flows. This decoupling has arisen primarily because the tools to bridge the gap between molecular properties and turbulent flows were not available.
Two developments in recent years that have had major impacts on progress in science and engineering have been laser diagnostics and high-performance computing (HPC). Used together, these two technologies have accelerated the pace of research and development (R&D) in many important fields, including combustion research, where they offer the potential to bridge the gap between different disciplines that study different facets of the combustion problem. Laser diagnostics have made it possible to examine combustion systems at the molecular level and in complex physical systems where in situ observations had not been possible. For example, it is now possible to probe turbulent flames experimentally in ways that elucidate turbulent-flame structure in detail both spatially and temporally. In addition, time-resolved velocity fields and two-dimensional planar images of flame markers to capture the interaction of a flame with turbulent flows can now be measured.
Computational combustion is quite well established (Westbrook et al., 2005), but it is only within the past decade that HPC has progressed to the point that detailed simulations of the physical and chemical structure of combustion have become possible. Modeling a wide range of two-dimensional combustion problems has now become relatively routine. It has even become possible recently to model turbulent flows at the laboratory scale with detailed chemical kinetics and transport (Puduppakkam et al., 2009). This knowledge is essential in exploiting the information obtained by sophisticated observations and optical diagnostics to bring together the different communities working on combustion and to help effect the necessary revolution in combustion science.
However, to realize this potential and to achieve significant advances, a much more coherent approach to simulations and data management than exists today is needed. Currently, most combustion investigators work independently or as part of small research groups, each of which develops its own simulation tools and has access primarily to its own