Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The space simulator - modeling the universe on a budget

23.06.2004


For the past several years, a team of University of California astrophysicists working at Los Alamos National Laboratory have been using a cluster of roughly 300 computer processors to model some of the most intriguing aspects of the Universe. Called the Space Simulator, this de facto supercomputer has not only proven itself to be one of the fastest supercomputers in the world, but has also demonstrated that modeling and simulation of complex phenomena, from supernovae to cosmology, can be done on a fairly economical basis.

According to Michael Warren, one of the Space Simulator’s three principal developers, "Our goal was to acquire a computer which would deliver the highest performance possible on the astrophysics simulations we wanted to run, while remaining within the modest budget that we were allotted. Building the Space Simulator turned out to be a excellent choice."

The Space Simulator is a 294-node Beowulf cluster with theoretical peak performance just below 1.5 teraflops, or trillions of floating point operations per second. Each Space Simulator processing node looks much like a computer you would find at home than at a supercomputer center, consisting of a Pentium 4 processor, 1 gigabyte of 333 MHz SDRAM, an 80 gigabyte hard drive and a gigabit Ethernet card. Each individual node cost less than $1,000 and the entire system cost under $500,000. The cluster achieved Linpack performance of 665.1 gigaflops per second on 288 processors in October 2002, making it the 85th fastest computer in the world, according to the 20th TOP500 list (see www.top500.org). A gigaflop is a billion floating-point operations per second. Since 2002, the Space Simulator has moved down to #344 on the most recent TOP500 list as faster computers are built, but Warren and his colleagues are not worried. They built the Space Simulator to do specific astrophysics research, not to compete with other computers. It was never designed to compete with Laboratory’s massive supercomputers and, in fact, is not scalable enough to do so.



The Space Simulator has been used almost continuously for theoretical astrophysics simulations since it was built, and has spent much of the past year calculating the evolution of the Universe. The first results of that work were recently presented at a research conference in Italy by Los Alamos postdoctoral research associate Luis Teodoro. Further analysis of the simulations, in collaboration with Princeton University professor Uros Seljak, will soon be published in the prestigious journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. In addition to simulating the structure and evolution of the Universe, the Space Simulator has been used to study the explosions of massive stars and to help understand the X-ray emission from the center of our galaxy.

The Space Simulator is actually the Laboratory’s third generation Beowulf cluster. The first was Loki, which was constructed in 1996 from 16 200 MHz Pentium Pro processors. Loki was followed by the Avalon cluster, which consisted of 144 alpha processors. The Space Simulator follows the same basic architecture as these previous Beowulf machines, but is the first to use Gigabit Ethernet as the network fabric, and requires significantly less space than a cluster using typical computers. The Space Simulator runs parallel N-body algorithms, which were originally designed for astrophysical applications involving gravitational interactions, but have since been used to model more complex particle systems.

In addition to Warren, the developers of the Space Simulator include Los Alamos staff members Chris Fryer and Patrick Goda. Los Alamos’ Laboratory-Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program provided funding for the Space Simulator research. LDRD funds basic and applied research and development focusing on employee-initiated creative proposals selected at the discretion of the Laboratory director.

Todd Hanson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.lanl.gov/worldview

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Turning entanglement upside down
22.05.2018 | Universität Innsbruck

nachricht Astronomers release most complete ultraviolet-light survey of nearby galaxies
18.05.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target

22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences

Achema 2018: New camera system monitors distillation and helps save energy

22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>