Petascale Challenges for Computational Cosmology

Event Sponsor: 
Mathematics and Computer Science Division
Start Date: 
Jun 10 2010 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Building 240 Conference Room 1404
Argonne National Laboratory
Paul Ricker
Speaker(s) Title: 
Associate Professor of Astronomy, UIUC; Research Scientist, NCSA
Boyana Norris

Several lines of evidence point to the conclusion that the largest cosmic structures -- galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and superclusters -- have formed through the action of gravitational instability on a mixture of ordinary atomic matter and weakly interacting "dark matter" that is dominated by the latter form. This instability empties vast regions of space to collect both kinds of matter into enormous filamentary structures along which galaxies are found. The tasks of cosmological simulation are to understand in detail how this process operates, how the galaxies evolved and became luminous, and how the observed cosmic structures can be used to place constraints on the fundamental parameters underlying cosmological models. Growth in the size and complexity of observational datasets and the advent of petascale computational resources have forced computational cosmologists to confront the scalability and accuracy of their simulation codes as never before. I will discuss some of the factors behind these challenges and describe how my group and our collaborators are attempting to address them within the context of the adaptive mesh refinement code FLASH.

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