Illustris: The Next Generation Of Universe Simulation
Illustris: The Next Generation (IllustrisTNG) has utilized new computational methods to get to universe-scale simulation.
(Illustris: The Next Generation video)
A single simulation run required 24,000 processors and a timespan of more than two months. Germany’s fastest mainframe computer, the Hazel Hen machine at the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart, ran the simulation twice. “The new simulations produced more than 500 terabytes of simulation data,” Volker Springel, principal investigator from the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, said in a press release. “Analyzing this huge mountain of data will keep us busy for years to come, and it promises many exciting new insights into different astrophysical processes.”
IllustrisTNG made these predictions by modeling the evolution of millions of galaxies in a representative region of a universe. The cube-shaped area has sides that are nearly 1 billion light-years long. In the previous version (called Illustris), the model area’s sides were only 350 million light-years long. The updated program also introduced some crucial physical processes that had not been included in previous simulations.
As Technovelgy readers well know, famed Polish sf author Stanislaw Lem in his 1965 novel The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age, 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)