Large cosmological simulation to run on Mira | 10/29/2015 | Staff
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An extremely large cosmological simulation—among the five most extensive ever conducted—is set to run on Mira this fall and exemplifies the scope of problems addressed on the leadership-class supercomputer at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Argonne National Laboratory.

Argonne physicist and computational scientist Katrin Heitmann leads the project. Heitmann was among the first to leverage Mira's capabilities when, in 2013, the IBM Blue Gene/Q system went online at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), a DOE Office of Science User Facility. Among the largest cosmological simulations ever performed at the time, the Outer Rim Simulation she and her colleagues carried out enabled further scientific research for many years.

Effort - Heitmann - Core-hours - Simulation - Advances

For the new effort, Heitmann has been allocated approximately 800 million core-hours to perform a simulation that reflects cutting-edge observational advances from satellites and telescopes and will form the basis for sky maps used by numerous surveys. Evolving a massive number of particles, the simulation is designed to help resolve mysteries of dark energy and dark matter.

"By transforming this simulation into a synthetic sky that closely mimics observational data at different wavelengths, this work can enable a large number of science projects throughout the research community," Heitmann said. "But it presents us with a big challenge." That is, in order to generate synthetic skies across different wavelengths, the team must extract relevant information and perform analysis either on the fly or after the fact in post-processing. Post-processing requires the storage of massive amounts of data—so much, in fact, that merely reading the data becomes extremely computationally expensive.

Mira - Heitmann - Team - Hardware/Hybrid - Accelerated

Since Mira was launched, Heitmann and her team have implemented in their Hardware/Hybrid Accelerated Cosmology Code (HACC) more sophisticated analysis tools for on-the-fly processing. "Moreover, compared to the Outer Rim Simulation, we've...
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