Researchers Generated an Entire Virtual Universe, And You Can Even Download It

Researchers Generated an Entire Virtual Universe, And You Can Even Download It

Researchers Generated an Entire Virtual Universe, And You Can Even Download It

Astronomy is a bit different from many sciences because you only have a sample size of 1. The cosmos contains everything we can observe, so astronomers can’t study multiple universes to see how our Universe ticks.

Now, if you are willing to spring for a fancy hard drive, you can keep one of these simulations in your pocket.

The Uchuu simulation is the largest and most detailed simulation of the Universe ever made. It contains 2.1 trillion ‘particles’ in a space 9.6 billion light-years across. The simulation models the evolution of the Universe across more than 13 billion years. It doesn’t focus on the formation of stars and planets but instead looks at the behavior of dark matter within an expanding Universe.

The detail of Uchuu is high enough that the team can identify everything from galaxy clusters to the dark matter halos of individual galaxies. Since dark matter makes up most of the matter in the Universe, it is the main driver of galaxy formation and clustering.

Dark matter distributions from the Uchuu simulations at different scales. (Ishiyama et. al, MNRAS, 2021)

It takes a tremendous amount of computational power and storage to create such a detailed model. The team used over 40,000 computer cores and 20 million computer hours to generate their simulation, and it produced more than 3 Petabytes of data.

That’s 3,000 TB or 3 million GB for us mortals. Using high-density compression, however, the team was able to compress their results into a mere 100 TB of storage.

For example, the Exadrive from Nimbus is a 100 TB solid-state drive in a standard 3.5-inch form factor. Granted, it will set you back US$40,000, but if you have that kind of change hiding between your couch cushions, why not use it to keep a universe in your pocket.

Fortunately, if you don’t have that much spare change, you can access the data online. The Uchuu team has their raw data on skiesanduniverses.org, so you can explore their virtual universe all you want.

In addition to being a detailed cosmic simulation, the Uchuu simulation can be used by researchers working on scientific data mining. As large sky surveys and more simulations are created, the data will become so large data mining will play a crucial role in astronomical research.

Until that data becomes available, data miners can hone their skills on a pocket universe.

Source: science alert

Cracking a mystery of massive black holes and quasars with supercomputer simulations

Researchers Generated an Entire Virtual Universe, And You Can Even Download It

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