Illustris: Combining 8,000 CPUs To Recreate Amazing Computer Simulation Of Our Universe 


IllustrisShort Bytes: Illustris is a model simulation of our universe created at CFA (Center For Astrophysics) at Harvard. 8000 CPUs in parallel were used to recreate the universe as we observe today. Illustris also follows the different astronomical equations which have been derived over the years, that too with a high-resolution view of the entire universe.

The universe began near 14 billion years ago with Big Bang and astronomers have a fair idea of that. However, simulating the chronological evolution of the universe on a single computer could take hundreds of years and this task would simply be too huge for any computer to handle.

However, astronomers and computer scientists at CFA, Harvard, used as many as 8,000 CPUs all running in parallel to model the evolution of the universe called Illustris. It is estimated that if the same simulation was carried out on a personal desktop computer, the simulation would take almost 2,000 years to recreate.

Until now, no single simulation was able to reproduce the universe on both large and small scales simultaneously.
— said Mark Vogelsberger of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and lead scientist of the study.

Previous works which tried to simulate the evolution of the universe either focused on a tiny portion of the cosmic volume or had a very low resolution. But this simulation has created a cube of 350 million light-years across and over 13 billion years of simulated time at an unprecedented resolution.

The effects of supernova explosions have also been modeled which give us a better insight into the interstellar and intergalactic volume, providing us with a clue on the building blocks of other stars, planets and, eventually, the organic chemistry that is the foundation for life.

Also Read: It’s Official: Einstein’s Most Incredible Prediction Proved Right, Gravitational Waves Discovered

This simulation has almost recreated a virtual universe which is a copy of the real universe that we observe today. The model only uses equations from theories constructed from decades of astronomical observations and allowed to evolve with time.

Illustris is a 3-D space filled with 12 billion pixels, all calculating the fundamental equations that govern normal (and dark) matter. Now, researchers can zoom in on regions of interest to focus on different mechanisms as they unfold.

Illustris is like a time machine. We can go forward and backward in time. We can pause the simulation and zoom into a single galaxy or galaxy cluster to see what’s really going on.
— added co-author Shy Genel, also of the CfA.

Take a look at it below:


Also Read: Stephen Hawking Claims That He Has Solved The Black Hole Paradox

Amar Shekhar

Amar Shekhar

A passionate adventure traveller over and Author of the book 'The Girl from the Woods'.
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