The Largest Virtual Universe!

In the process of simulating the formation of our universe, researchers from the University of Zurich have created a gigantic catalogue of about 25 billion virtual galaxies, generated from 2 trillion digital particles.


(The Cosmic Web)

Over a period of three years, a group of astrophysicists from the University of Zurich has developed and optimised a revolutionary code to describe with unprecedented accuracy the dynamics of dark matter and the formation of large-scale structures in the Universe. As Joachim Stadel, Douglas Potter and Romain Teyssier report in their recently published paper, the code (called PKDGRAV3) has been designed to use optimally the available memory and processing power of modern supercomputing architectures, such as the "Piz Daint" supercomputer of the Swiss National Computing Center (CSCS). The code was executed on this world-leading machine for only 80 hours, and generated a virtual universe of two trillion (i.e., two thousand billion or 2 x 1012) macro-particles representing the dark matter fluid, from which a catalogue of 25 billion virtual galaxies was extracted.

Fans of the incomparable Polish science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem recall that in his 1965 novel The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age, he wrote about a vast computing device called the Gnostotron:

"...To put it simply, then, all we have to do is construct a digital device, a computer capable of producing an informational model of absolutely everything in existence. Properly programmed, it will provide us with an exact simulation of the Highest Possible Level of Development, which we can then question and thereby obtain the Ultimate Answers!"

As it turned out, this digital device was none other than the famed Gnostotron conceived by Chlorian Theoreticus the Proph just before his lamentable demise, a machine able literally to contain the Universe Itself within its innumerable memory banks.
(Read more about Lem's Gnostotron)

Stanislaw Lem is not well-known in the Western world; but here you can find about fifty science fiction in the news stories based on Stanislaw Lem's fiction.

Via press release.

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