Most computer simulation of the universe ever created

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A generation supercomputer has been serving physicists at Argonne National Laboratory (USA) to help understand some important cosmological questions about how it arose and developed our universe . The idea is to roll back the cosmic clock to the time of the Big Bang, which began when “all that is, what was and what will be some time,” as Carl Sagan described, for then trace trillion and trillions of particles.After the equivalent of about 13,700 million years, conveniently compressed “slow” the result should resemble the universe around us and we can observe with conventional telescopes and radio telescopes.

This supercomputer is called Watch , and is among the largest in the world. This model BlueGene / Q manufactured by IBM, working about 8 petaFLOPS (billion floating point operations per second), with a theoretical top speed of about 10 teraflops.

This huge beast 49.152 consists of cores, divided into 48 groups that are interconnected with each other at high speed. Simulating the interactions between the particles also requires a large storage capacity, and for this reason is equipped with almost 1 petabyte petabytes memory and disk 70. Comparatively, 1 petabyte of memory is about 100,000 times more than it takes a conventional computer and 70 petabytes would amount to 70,000 to 1 terabyte disks are fitted to home computers and high-end professionals.

The operating system that handles all of these resources is a special version of Linux supercomputers and its operation is complex but can be described with a parallel: each calculation is as if a task is partitioned into thousands of smaller tasks and sent to thousands of computers portable, shortly after receiving the results one by one. So as important the ability of each of these cores and the speed of data transfer between them.


Another tricky part of the task is to prepare the problem for a computer of this type can resolve . Scientists say it is like solving a mathematical equation very complicated which are known only 5 percent of the securities and the remaining 95 percent are variable. The simulation begins testing values for these trillions of particles interact with each other and repeat millions of times. Altogether must travel 13,700 million years, the estimated age of the universe. If the result is similar to what we know, things may go in the right direction. Failure to appear, back again.

How to analyze the results pursues better understand the composition of the universe, the role of dark matter and dark energy (which can be seen but only make up 85 percent of the universe) and how they form large structures such as clusters and galaxies.

The powerful new supercomputers enables simulations are used for this task is made more and more particles and 3-D space more ‘fine’ and ‘high resolution’, to put it in some way. With teams like Mira, capable of storing a small universe inside every time we are closer to understanding how the cosmos really.

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