Exploring the dark universe at the speed of petaflops

Exploring the dark universe at the speed of petaflops
Nov 21, 2013 by Gail Pieper

This visualization, part of a 1.1-trillion-particle simulation run on Argonne’s supercomputer Mira, shows the complexity of cosmological structure formation.  Image via Phys.org

This visualization, part of a 1.1-trillion-particle simulation run on Argonne’s supercomputer Mira, shows the complexity of cosmological structure formation.
Image via Phys.org

An astonishing 95% of our universe is made of up dark energy and dark matter. Understanding the physics of this sector is the foremost challenge in cosmology today. Sophisticated simulations of the evolution of the universe play a crucial role.

The primary lens through which scientists look at the night sky is no longer only a telescope—it’s also a supercomputer. The new and coming generations of supercomputers will finally be capable of modeling the universe in the detail and volume required by astronomical surveys of the sky that are now underway, or soon will be.

Scientists use large cosmological simulations to test theories about the structure of the universe and the evolution of the distribution of galaxies and clusters of galaxies. State-of-the-art supercomputers let cosmologists make predictions and test them against data from powerful telescopes and space probes. Two decades of surveying the sky have culminated in the celebrated Cosmological Standard Model. Yet two of the model’s key pillars—dark matter and dark energy, together accounting for 95% of the universe—remain mysterious. A research team led by Argonne is tackling this mystery, aided by some of the world’s fastest supercomputers.

Continue Learning: http://phys.org/news/2013-11-exploring-dark-universe-petaflops.html

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