Modelling and numerical simulation
By carrying out experiments, you can gather all kinds of information about the plasma, like its electron temperature and density, its rate of emission of radiation of a particular wavelength, and the like.
However, such experiments do not tell you why such quantities attain their particular values. In order to understand the plasma and be able to predict how it will respond to a change of the control parameters, you need to set up a model for the system. Some models describe individual aspects of the plasma, like the electromagnetic field or the gas flow pattern. Others are more involved, and describe self-consistently the plasma as a whole. Especially in the latter case, the equations are usually too complicated to allow analytical solutions, and are instead solved with the help of a computer. In that case we speak of numerical simulation.
Traditionally, experiments and modelling go hand in hand in our group. Plasma modelling is exercised by all of us, but in particular by the people who are involved in the development of Plasimo, a software package for numerical plasma simulation.
If you are interested in the Plasimo simulation toolkit please visit the Plasimo website.