Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Listening for the cosmic symphony

12.02.2008
New SU supercomputer will help scientists listen for black holes

Scientists hope that a new supercomputer being built by Syracuse University's Department of Physics may help them identify the sound of a celestial black hole.

The supercomputer, dubbed SUGAR (SU Gravitational and Relativity Cluster), will soon receive massive amounts of data from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) that was collected over a two-year period at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). LIGO is funded by the National Science Foundation and operated by Caltech and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Duncan Brown, assistant professor of physics and member of SU's Gravitational Wave Group, is assembling SUGAR. The department's Gravitational Wave Group is also part of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), a worldwide initiative to detect gravitational waves. Brown worked on the LIGO project at Caltech before coming to SU last August.

Gravitational waves are produced by violent events in the distant universe, such as the collision of black holes or explosions of supernovas. The waves radiate across the universe at the speed of light. While Albert Einstein predicted the existence of these waves in 1916 in his general theory of relativity, it has taken decades to develop the technology to detect them. Construction of the LIGO detectors in Hanford, Wash., and Livingston, La., was completed in 2005. Scientists recently concluded a two-year "science run" of the detectors and are now searching the data for these waves. LSC scientists will be analyzing this data while the sensitivity of the detectors is being improved. Detectors have also been built in France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

Before they can isolate the sound of a black hole from the LIGO data, the scientists must figure out what a black hole sounds like. That's where Einstein's theories come in. Working with colleagues from the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project, Brown will use SUGAR and Einstein's equations to create models of gravitational wave patterns from the collision of two black holes. SXS is a collaborative project with Caltech and Cornell University.

Black holes are massive gravitational fields in the universe that result from the collapse of giant stars. Because black holes absorb light, they cannot be studied using telescopes or other instruments that rely on light waves. However, scientists believe they can learn more about black holes by listening for their gravitational waves.

"Looking for gravitational waves is like listening to the universe," Brown says. "Different kinds of events produce different wave patterns. We want to try to extract a wave pattern -- a special sound -- that matches our model from all of the noise in the LIGO data."

It takes massive amounts of computer power and data storage capacity to analyze the data against the gravitational wave models Duncan and his colleagues built. SUGAR is a collection of 80 computers, packing 320 CPUs of power and 640 Gigabytes of random access memory. SUGAR also has 96 terabytes of disk space on which to store the LIGO data.

It also takes a dedicated, high-speed fiber-optic network to transfer the data between Caltech and SU. To accomplish that, SU's Information Technology and Services (ITS) collaborated with NYSERNet to build a special pathway for the LIGO data on the high-speed fiber optic network that crisscrosses the United States. The one-gigabit pathway begins in the Physics Building and traverses SU's fiber-optic network to Machinery Hall and then to a network facility in downtown Syracuse, which the University shares with NYSERNet. From there, the pathway connects to NYSERNet's fiber-optic network and goes to New York City. In New York City, the pathway switches to the Internet2 high-speed network and traverses the country, ending in a computer room in Caltech.

Both the supercomputer and the high-speed network are expected to be up and running by the end of February. Once the data is transferred to SU from Caltech, Brown and his LSC colleagues will begin to listen to the "cosmic symphony." "Gravitational waves can teach us much about what is out there in the universe," Brown says. "We've never looked at Einstein's theory in this way."

Judy Holmes | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.syr.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form
18.08.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht Astrophysicists explain the mysterious behavior of cosmic rays
18.08.2017 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>