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Software Recreates a Slice of the Universe
Scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) have created software that can accurately follow the birth and evolution of thousands of galaxies over billions of years. The software, called Arepo, generates a full-fledged simulation of the universe - using only the observed afterglow of the Big Bang as input. One of Arepo's key advantages is the geometry it uses. Previous simulations divided space into a bunch of cubes of fixed size and shape. Arepo uses a grid that flexes and moves in space to match the motions of the underlying gas, stars, dark matter, and dark energy. Another key ability is producing realistic spiral galaxies. Previous simulations tended to yield blobby galaxies lacking distinct spiral structure. The simulations ran on Harvard's Odyssey high-performance supercomputer, using 1024 processor cores.
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