Cosmologists create record-breaking simulation of galaxy formation | 3/20/2018 | Staff
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By understanding the stars and their origins, we learn more about where we come from. However, the vastness of the galaxy—let alone the entire universe—means experiments to understand its origins are expensive, difficult and time consuming. In fact, experiments are impossible for studying certain aspects of astrophysics, meaning that in order to gain greater insight into how galaxies formed, researchers rely on supercomputing.

In an attempt to develop a more complete picture of galaxy formation, researchers from the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, the Max-Planck Institutes for Astrophysics and for Astronomy, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and the Center for Computational Astrophysics in New York have turned to supercomputing resources at the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS), one of the three world-class German supercomputing facilities that comprise the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS). The resulting simulation will help to verify and expand on existing experimental knowledge about the universe's early stages.

Team - Record-breaking - Illustris - Simulation - Formation

Recently, the team expanded on its 2015 record-breaking "Illustris" simulation—the largest-ever hydrological simulation of galaxy formation. Hydrodynamic simulations allow researchers to accurately simulate the movement of gas. Stars form from cosmic gas, and starlight provides astrophysicists and cosmologists with important information for understanding how the universe works.

The researchers improved on the scope and accuracy of their simulation, naming this phase of the project Illustris: The Next Generation (IllustrisTNG). The team released its first round of findings across three journal articles appearing in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and are preparing several more for publication.

Humanity - Universe - Computer - Simulation - Birth

Just as humanity cannot envision exactly how the universe came to be, a computer simulation cannot recreate the birth of the universe in a literal sense. Instead, researchers feed equations and other starting conditions—observations from satellite arrays and other sources—into a gigantic computational cube representing a large swath of the universe and then...
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