Scientists simulate galaxy formation using a supercomputer

Scientists in Germany and the United States have collaborated to create the world’s most complex simulation of galactic evolution ever. The simulation, called TN G50, have enabled the scientists to produce a video of the evolution of a galaxy from the beginning of the universe to right until today.

The team had published two papers on the simulation in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” last November. 

Royal Astronomical Society calls the simulation a “universe in a box”. The new simulation outperforms all simulations that have come before it by being able to include both larger and smaller scales together. In other words, it can clearly represent large distances of areas as well as smaller local areas.

The total area simulated by the scientists spans around 230 million light-years. In this given span the simulation allows researchers to focus in on phenomenons that are million smaller and observe it with incredible details. The simulation serves as an excellent tool for researchers to study galaxy formation and how the universe has changed throughout cosmic history. 

Hazel Hen supercomputer located in Stuttgart Germany, was used to analyse the massive amount of data required for this project. The 16000-cored machine took more than one year to build the simulation working 24/7.

The researchers feed the data of the current state of the universe as they observe it and specify various physical and chemical laws that govern it. Then the supercomputer works in reverse to engineer a model that simulated how what we know today came to be from what was there back then.

Another exciting aspect of this simulation is that along with particle representations of stars, cosmic gas, magnetic fields, and supermassive black holes, particle representations of dark matter came into the simulation naturally without the researcher’s input. 

The galaxy formation as shown in the video resembles our milky way galaxy with it somewhat orderly gaseous spirals. The simulation shows the emergence of an orderly disc galaxy from a young and chaotic universe with time.

The team is expected to release more videos and data of their work in future for other scientists to study and conduct their research on it.


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