Simulating the universe

Behold the magnificence of the Bolshoi, apparently the most accurate computer simulation of the universe ever. The researchers from the University of California High-Performance Astrocomputing Center (wow!) and New Mexico State University just started releasing data from the simulation this month, leading to new insights about the formation of galaxies, dark matter, and dark energy. The visualization above, depicting dark matter in 1/1000 of the entire cosmological simulation, was also seen in Bjork's Biophilia performance. From UC Santa Cruz:

"In one sense, you might think the initial results are a little boring, because they basically show that our standard cosmological model works," said Joel Primack, distinguished professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. "What's exciting is that we now have this highly accurate simulation that will provide the basis for lots of important new studies in the months and years to come."

Primack and Anatoly Klypin, professor of astronomy at New Mexico State University, lead the team that produced the Bolshoi simulation. Klypin wrote the computer code for the simulation, which was run on the Pleiades supercomputer at NASA Ames Research Center. "These huge cosmological simulations are essential for interpreting the results of ongoing astronomical observations and for planning the new large surveys of the universe that are expected to help determine the nature of the mysterious dark energy," Klypin said.

Bolshoi Simulation