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    The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
    • 2015-10-29 10:05:00
    • Article ID: 642263

    Researchers Model Birth of Universe in One of Largest Cosmological Simulations Ever Run

    • Credit: Image by Heitmann et. al.

      This series shows the evolution of the universe as simulated by a run called the Q Continuum, performed on the Titan supercomputer and led by Argonne physicist Katrin Heitmann. These images give an impression of the detail in the matter distribution in the simulation. At first the matter is very uniform, but over time gravity acts on the dark matter, which begins to clump more and more, and in the clumps, galaxies form.

    • Credit: Image by Heitmann et. al.

      Galaxies have halos surrounding them, which may be composed of both dark and regular matter. This image shows a substructure within a halo in the Q Continuum simulation, with “subhalos” marked in different colors.

    Researchers model birth of universe in one of largest cosmological simulations ever run

    Researchers are sifting through an avalanche of data produced by one of the largest cosmological simulations ever performed, led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.

    The simulation, run on the Titan supercomputer at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, modeled the evolution of the universe from just 50 million years after the Big Bang to the present day—from its earliest infancy to its current adulthood. Over the course of 13.8 billion years, the matter in the universe clumped together to form galaxies, stars and planets; but we’re not sure precisely how.

    These kinds of simulations help scientists understand dark energy, a form of energy that affects the expansion rate of the universe, including the distribution of galaxies, composed of ordinary matter, as well as dark matter, a mysterious kind of matter that no instrument has directly measured so far.

    Intensive sky surveys with powerful telescopes, like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the new, more detailed Dark Energy Survey, show scientists where galaxies and stars were when their light was first emitted. And surveys of the Cosmic Microwave Background, light remaining from when the universe was only 300,000 years old, show us how the universe began—“very uniform, with matter clumping together over time,” said Katrin Heitmann, an Argonne physicist who led the simulation.

    The simulation fills in the temporal gap to show how the universe might have evolved in between: “Gravity acts on the dark matter, which begins to clump more and more, and in the clumps, galaxies form,” said Heitmann.

    Called the Q Continuum, the simulation involved half a trillion particles—dividing the universe up into cubes with sides 100,000 kilometers long. This makes it one of the largest cosmology simulations at such high resolution. It ran using more than 90 percent of the supercomputer. For perspective, typically less than one percent of jobs use 90 percent of the Mira supercomputer at Argonne, said officials at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, a DOE Office of Science User Facility . Staff at both the Argonne and Oak Ridge computing facilities helped adapt the code for its run on Titan.

    “This is a very rich simulation,” Heitmann said. “We can use this data to look at why galaxies clump this way, as well as the fundamental physics of structure formation itself.”

    Analysis has already begun on the two and a half petabytes of data that were generated, and will continue for several years, she said. Scientists can pull information on such astrophysical phenomena as strong lensing, weak lensing shear, cluster lensing and galaxy-galaxy lensing.

    The code to run the simulation is called Hardware/Hybrid Accelerated Cosmology Code (HACC), which was first written in 2008, around the time scientific supercomputers broke the petaflop barrier (a quadrillion operations per second). HACC is designed with an inherent flexibility that enables it to run on supercomputers with different architectures.

    Details of the work are included in the study, “The Q continuum simulation: harnessing the power of GPU accelerated supercomputers,” published in August in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series by the American Astronomical Society. Other Argonne scientists on the study included Nicholas Frontiere, Salman Habib, Adrian Pope, Hal Finkel, Silvio Rizzi, Joe Insley and Suman Bhattacharya, as well as Chris Sewell at DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    This work was supported by the DOE Office of Science (Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) jointly by High Energy Physics and Advanced Scientific Computing Research ) and used resources of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a DOE Office of Science User Facility. The work presented here results from an award of computer time provided by the Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program at the OLCF.

    Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

    The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit the Office of Science website.

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    Capturing the behavior of single-atom catalysts on the move

    Capturing the behavior of single-atom catalysts on the move

    Scientists are excited by the prospect of stripping catalysts down to single atoms. Attached by the millions to a supporting surface, they could offer the ultimate in speed and specificity. Now researchers have taken an important step toward understanding single-atom catalysts by deliberately tweaking how they're attached to the surfaces that support them - in this case the surfaces of nanoparticles.

    Watching Molecules Split in Real Time

    Watching Molecules Split in Real Time

    Using a new X-ray technique, a team of researchers was able to watch in real time as a molecule split apart into two new molecules. The method could be used to look at chemical reactions that other techniques can't catch, for instance in catalysis, photovoltaics, peptide and combustion research. The team, led by researchers from Brown University in collaboration with the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, published their results in March in Angewandte Chemie.

    Capturing Energy Flow in a Plasma by Measuring Scattered Light

    Capturing Energy Flow in a Plasma by Measuring Scattered Light

    First measurements of heat flux in plasmas experientially sheds light on models relying on classical thermal transport.

    Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning Accelerate Efforts to Develop Clean, Virtually Limitless Fusion Energy

    Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning Accelerate Efforts to Develop Clean, Virtually Limitless Fusion Energy

    The Fusion Recurrent Neural Network reliably forecasts disruptive and destructive events in tokamaks.

    Spin Flipper Upends Protons

    Spin Flipper Upends Protons

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    Catalyst Renders Nerve Agents Harmless

    Catalyst Renders Nerve Agents Harmless

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    Splitting Water Fast! Catalyst Works Faster than Mother Nature

    Splitting Water Fast! Catalyst Works Faster than Mother Nature

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    Sea Quark Spin Surprise!

    Sea Quark Spin Surprise!

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    The Weak Side of the Proton

    The Weak Side of the Proton

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    Electric Skyrmions Charge Ahead for Next-Generation Data Storage

    Electric Skyrmions Charge Ahead for Next-Generation Data Storage

    A team of researchers led by Berkeley Lab has observed chirality for the first time in polar skyrmions in a material with reversible electrical properties - a combination that could lead to more powerful data storage devices that continue to hold information, even after they've been turned off.


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    Department of Energy Announces $20 Million for Artificial Intelligence Research

    Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a total of $20 million in funding for innovative research and development in artificial intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning.

    Tim Knewitz named Argonne National Laboratory's Chief Financial Officer

    Tim Knewitz named Argonne National Laboratory's Chief Financial Officer

    The U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory has named Tim Knewitz at its Chief Financial Officer.

    Department of Energy Announces $95 Million for Small Business Research and Development Grants

    U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry today announced that the Department of Energy will award 86 grants totaling $95 million to 74 small businesses in 21 states.

    DOE's Science Graduate Student Research Program Selects 70 Students to Pursue Research at DOE Laboratories

    The Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Science has selected 70 graduate students from across the nation for its 2018 Solicitation 2 cycle for Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Program.

    Brookhaven Joins the IBM Q Network Hub at Oak Ridge National Lab

    Brookhaven Joins the IBM Q Network Hub at Oak Ridge National Lab

    Brookhaven National Lab has joined the IBM Q Network Hub at Oak Ridge National Lab. This hub is part of an international community of Fortune 500 companies, startups, universities, and research labs working with IBM to advance quantum computing and explore its practical applications.

    David Reis named head of PULSE Institute for ultrafast science

    David Reis named head of PULSE Institute for ultrafast science

    Long before David Reis joined the faculty of the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University, he was helping lay the groundwork for the lab's first-of-a-kind X-ray free-electron laser, or XFEL, and the revolutionary science that followed its opening in 2009. Now he's director of the PULSE Institute, which was founded by SLAC and Stanford with the express purpose of exploiting the possibilities for ultrafast science at that X-ray laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS).

    Head of NSTX-U research is appointed deputy director for research at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Head of NSTX-U research is appointed deputy director for research at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Jon Menard, the head of research on the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory's National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade, has been named deputy director for research. Michael Zarnstorff, who held the position for 10 years, will become the chief chief scientist at PPPL, a position that will oversee strategic scientific planning.

    Argonne scientist advances energy sciences through professional leadership

    Argonne scientist advances energy sciences through professional leadership

    Ralph Muehleisen of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory was recently re-elected to the Board of Directors of IBPSA-USA, the U.S. affiliate of the International Building Performance Simulation Association. IBPSA is a global leader in the promotion of building simulation science and one of the largest professional organizations in the world for building scientists and engineers.

    Brookhaven Lab Publishes Second Edition of Nuclear Nonproliferation Textbook

    Brookhaven Lab Publishes Second Edition of Nuclear Nonproliferation Textbook

    Brookhaven Lab has published the second edition of Deterring Nuclear Proliferation: The Importance of IAEA Safeguards, a textbook that provides a history of the origins of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and introduces the ways in which IAEA verifies nation states' nuclear nonproliferation commitments.

    PPPL's Young Women's Conference Offers Girls Fun and Inspiration in STEM Fields

    PPPL's Young Women's Conference Offers Girls Fun and Inspiration in STEM Fields

    PPPL's Young Women's Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics on Friday, March 22, at Princeton University, seeks to change the statistics that show women still lag far behind men in the STEM fields. The conference offers 7th to 10th-grade girls hands-on science activities, exciting experiments, and talks and a keynote speech by early-career female scientists.


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    Capturing Energy Flow in a Plasma by Measuring Scattered Light

    Capturing Energy Flow in a Plasma by Measuring Scattered Light

    First measurements of heat flux in plasmas experientially sheds light on models relying on classical thermal transport.

    Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning Accelerate Efforts to Develop Clean, Virtually Limitless Fusion Energy

    Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning Accelerate Efforts to Develop Clean, Virtually Limitless Fusion Energy

    The Fusion Recurrent Neural Network reliably forecasts disruptive and destructive events in tokamaks.

    Spin Flipper Upends Protons

    Spin Flipper Upends Protons

    The spin direction of protons was reversed, for the first time, using a nine-magnet device, potentially helping tease out details about protons that affect medical imaging and more.

    Splitting Water Fast! Catalyst Works Faster than Mother Nature

    Splitting Water Fast! Catalyst Works Faster than Mother Nature

    Design principles lead to a catalyst that splits water in a low pH environment, vital for generating solar fuels.

    Sea Quark Spin Surprise!

    Sea Quark Spin Surprise!

    Antiquark spin contribution to proton spin depends on flavor, which could help unlock secrets about the nuclear structure of atoms that make up nearly all visible matter in our universe.

    The Weak Side of the Proton

    The Weak Side of the Proton

    A precision measurement of the proton's weak charge narrows the search for new physics.

    Fast-Moving Pairs May Solve 35-Year-Old Mystery

    Fast-Moving Pairs May Solve 35-Year-Old Mystery

    Physicists develop a universal mathematical description that suggests that proton-neutron pairs in a nucleus may explain why their associated quarks have lower average momenta than predicted.

    Team Takes Fluoride from Taps and Toothpaste to Batteries

    Team Takes Fluoride from Taps and Toothpaste to Batteries

    With user facilities, researchers devise novel battery chemistries to help make fluoride batteries a reality.

    Quarks Under Pressure in the Proton

    Quarks Under Pressure in the Proton

    Pressure in the middle of a proton is about 10 times higher than in a neutron star.

    Magnetic Levitation of Ultracold Neutrons Yields New Measurement of the Neutron Lifetime

    Magnetic Levitation of Ultracold Neutrons Yields New Measurement of the Neutron Lifetime

    Storing extremely slow neutrons in a novel trap enables precise measurement of a basic property of particle physics.


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