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Applications from Astrophysics

Here we present a choice of impressive projects from astrophysics which have been carried out on GCS supercomputers.

Precession Driven Flows in Planets

Precession Driven Flows in Planets

Researchers at the University of Münster investigated precession driven flows in planets by direct numerical simulations on the JUQUEEN cluster. Precession of the rotation axis is an often neglected driving mechanism for flows in planetary cores, a field of research were other scientists mainly focus on the influence of thermal or chemical effects. As an additional complication that moves the models closer to the physical reality, the project considered the spheroidal shape of the planet, whereas previous research has been focused on the idealized case of a perfect sphere.
  
Principal Investigator: Ulrich Hansen, Institut für Geophysik, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (Germany)
HPC Platform: JUQUEEN of JSC - Date published: November 2016
More: Precession Driven Flows in Planets …

GRSimStar - General Relativistic Simulations of Binary Neutron Star Mergers

GRSimStar - General Relativistic Simulations of Binary Neutron Star Mergers

What can we learn from some of the most powerful explosions in the universe? Researchers in Italy, USA, and Japan joined forces to study, via computer simulations in general relativity, what happens when two neutron stars in a binary system finally merge. Besides black holes, neutron stars are the most compact objects ever observed. Their collisions can produce bright electromagnetic emission and strong gravitational waves. Understanding how to relate the different signals with the properties of neutron stars may allow us to understand how matter behaves in conditions so extreme that cannot be reproduced on Earth.
  
Principal Investigator: Bruno Giacomazzo, University of Trento and INFN-TIFPA, Trento, Italy
HPC Platform: SuperMUC of LRZ - Date published: November 2016
More: GRSimStar - General Relativistic Simulations of Binary Neutron Star Mergers …

Hydrangea: Simulating the Formation of Galaxies in Clusters

Hydrangea: Simulating the Formation of Galaxies in Clusters

Why do galaxies that live in the enormous structures known as galaxy clusters look different from normal, isolated galaxies, like our Milky Way? To answer this question, astrophysicists have created the Hydrangea simulations, a suite of 24 high-resolution cosmological hydrodynamical simulations of galaxy clusters. Containing over 20,000 cluster galaxies in unprecedented detail and accuracy, these simulations are giving astrophysicists a powerful tool to understand how galaxies have formed and evolved in one of the most extreme environments of our Universe.
  
Principal Investigator: Yannick Bahé, Max Planck Institut for Astrophysics, Garching (Germany)
HPC Platform: Hazel Hen of HLRS - Date published: October 2016
More: Hydrangea: Simulating the Formation of Galaxies in Clusters …

3D NLTE (non-local thermodynamic equilibrium) Radiation Transport with PHOENIX/3D

3D NLTE Radiation Transport with PHOENIX/3D

Understanding the light emitted by (magnetically) active cool stars (‘M dwarfs’) is a major challenge for astrophysics. In this project, scientists use their PHOENIX/3D code to simulate the light emitted by a ‘box’ inside the outer layers of an active M dwarf in detail. The temperatures and pressures inside the box are taken from an existing gas dynamics simulation (including magnetic field effects) by S. Wedemeyer (Oslo). The computational requirements of detailed non-equilibrium 3D radiative transfer simulations are staggering and require the largest supercomputers on Earth.
  
Principal Investigator: Peter Hauschildt, Hamburger Sternwarte, Universität Hamburg (Germany)
HPC Platform: Hazel Hen of HLRS - Date published: October 2016

More: 3D NLTE Radiation Transport with PHOENIX/3D …

PHOENIX/3D NLTE calculations

PHOENIX/3D NLTE Calculations

Researchers finished the implementation and verification of a 3D non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (NLTE/3D) module for the PHOENIX/3D model atmosphere simulation code. The methods were extended to also allow NLTE modelling of molecular lines (here: CO) and then used to model the radiation from parameterized star-spots to investigate the effects of detailed 3D radiation transport on observables.
  
Principal Investigator: Peter Hauschildt, Hamburger Sternwarte, Universität Hamburg (Germany)
HPC Platform: JUQUEEN of JSC - Date published: September 2016

More: PHOENIX/3D NLTE Calculations …

Global Kinetic Modelling of Space Weather - VLASIATOR

Global Kinetic Modelling of Space Weather – With Extreme Scalability (VLASIATOR)

Space weather is an increasingly important aspect for our technology-dependent society. Modelling space weather is difficult, however, a Finnish team has succeeded in something that was said to be impossible: an accurate simulation of the large-scale near-Earth space environment. PRACE Tier-0 grant from Hazel Hen (HLRS, Stuttgart) both allowed the Vlasiator team to discover new space physics phenomena, and significantly helped in the acceptance of the second European Research Council grant awarded to the project PI in fall 2015.
  
Principal Investigator: Minna Palmroth, Earth Observation Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki (Finland)
HPC Platform: Hazel Hen of HLRS - Date published: July 2016
More: Global Kinetic Modelling of Space Weather – With Extreme Scalability (VLASIATOR) …

Gravitational Waves From Early Universe Phase Transitions

Gravitational Waves From Early Universe Phase Transitions

Gravitational waves are ripples in spacetime, predicted by Einstein already a century ago. With the announcement earlier this year that gravitational waves had been successfully detected from two black holes merging, attention now turns to other potential sources of gravitational waves. Such sources include dramatic events that may have occurred very early in the history of the universe. Understanding these other sources also informs the design of future gravitational wave detectors, such as the European Space Agency (ESA) project eLISA.
  
Principal Investigator: David Weir, Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Stavanger (Norway)
HPC Platform: Hazel Hen of HLRS - Date published: July 2016
More: Gravitational Waves From Early Universe Phase Transitions …

Magnetic Reconnection in 3D

Magnetic Reconnection in 3D

The process of magnetic reconnection — when magnetic fields in plasma reconfigure and explosively release thermal and kinetic energy — is only just beginning to be understood. Professor Giovanni Lapenta has been carrying out simulations on SuperMUC of how these events can cause chain reactions that very quickly fill vast volumes of space. This data is now being verified with the recent NASA Magnetospheric MultiScale Mission that is measuring magnetic reconnection events around the Earth.
  
Principal Investigator: Giovanni Lapenta, KU Leuven (Belgium)
HPC Platform: SuperMUC of LRZ - Date published: June 2016
More: Magnetic Reconnection in 3D …

Physics of the Solar Chromosphere

Physics of the Solar Chromosphere

A simulation project, run on SuperMUC, targets the intrinsic physics of the chromosphere in order to understand its mass and energy budgets and transfer mechanisms. Elucidating these is a principal quest of solar physics, a necessary step towards better space-weather prediction, and of interest to general astrophysics using the Sun as a close-up Rosetta-Stone star and to plasma physics using the Sun and heliosphere as a nearby laboratory. The project aims at a breakthrough in our understanding of the solar chromosphere by developing sophisticated radiation-magnetohydrodynamic simulations.
  
Principal Investigator: Mats Carlsson, Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics, University of Oslo (Norway)
HPC Platform: SuperMUC of LRZ - Date published: May 2016
More: Physics of the Solar Chromosphere …

Kinetic Turbulence in the Solar Wind - Turbulent Cascade and Wave-Particle Interaction

Kinetic Turbulence in the Solar Wind - Turbulent Cascade and Wave-Particle Interaction

An international research collaboration led by the University of Würzburg delved into the subjects of turbulence and particle acceleration in the solar wind by performing highly complex numerical simulations leveraging the particle-in-cell (PiC) approach, a technique used to solve a certain class of partial differential equations thus capable of studying these phenomena. In order to model the complex system of different waves, particles and electromagnetic fields self-consistently, the use of massive computing power such as provided by high performance computing system SuperMUC is inevitable.
  
Principal Investigator: Felix Spanier, Institut für Theoretische Physik und Astrophysik, Universität Würzburg (Germany)
HPC Platform: SuperMUC of LRZ - Date published: February 2016
More: Kinetic Turbulence in the Solar Wind - Turbulent Cascade and Wave-Particle Interaction …

Collisionless Shock Formation and Ion Acceleration in Astrophysics and in the Laboratory

Collisionless Shock Formation and Ion Acceleration in Astrophysics and in the Laboratory

The acceleration of charged particles is still one of the most important problems in astrophysics. Cosmic rays, which mainly consist of protons, show a broad spectrum with energies up to 1021 eV, which can be produced in collisionless shocks. However, many questions are still open regarding the acceleration process and the process of shock formation. To study this complex process with non-linear methods, researchers used JUQUEEN to investigate different aspects of the shock formation process and further applications.

Principal Investigator: Anne Stockem Novo, Ruhr-University Bochum (Germany)
HPC Platform: JUQUEEN of JSC - Date published: October 2015
More: Collisionless Shock Formation and Ion Acceleration in Astrophysics and in the Laboratory …

Gravoturbulent Planetesimal Formation

Gravoturbulent Planetesimal Formation

Scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg are using the HPC infrastructure of the Jülich Supercomputing Centre for extensive magneto-hydro-dynamical and million particle simulations of protoplanetary disks to study their evolution and properties. Findings are helping the researchers to understand the processes leading to the formation of planets, moons and asteroids. Their investigations will help to explain the observed diversity in planetary systems and in our own solar system.
  
Principal Investigator: Hubertus Klahr, Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Heidelberg (Germany)
HPC Platform: JUQUEEN of JSC - Date published: September 2015

More: Gravoturbulent Planetesimal Formation …

MATHECO - MAntle THErmo-chemical COnvection Simulations

Mantle Thermo-Chemical Convection Simulations (MATHECO)

Scientists of the German Aerospace Center Berlin (DLR) exploited the computing capacity of the petascale system Hornet of HLRS to study the convective dynamics and evolution of planetary interiors. The goal of the large-scale simulation project MATHECO (MAntle THErmo-chemical COnvection Simulations), which scaled to 54,000 compute cores of the supercomputer Hornet, was to gain further insights into the cooling history of planets and its influences on volcanic and tectonic surface processes.
  
Principal Investigator: Ana-Catalina Plesa, German Aerospace Center/DLR, Berlin (Germany)
HPC Platform: Hornet of HLRS - Date published: May 2015

More: Mantle Thermo-Chemical Convection Simulations (MATHECO) …

Electron Acceleration in Non-Relativistic Shocks (EAINRS)

Electron Acceleration in Non-Relativistic Shocks (EAINRS)

Observations show that Earth is constantly bombarded by highly energetic particles that are called cosmic rays. A possible explanation for the origin of the cosmic rays as well as their energy distribution is particle acceleration at shock fronts. Several different physical processes take place there, but due to the large astrophysical distances it is, unfortunately, impossible to study these in-situ. One way out is large scale computer simulations.
  
Principal Investigator: Patrick Kilian, Lehrstuhl für Astronomie, Universität Würzburg (Germany)
HPC Platform: Hermit of HLRS - Date published: March 2015

More: Electron Acceleration in Non-Relativistic Shocks (EAINRS) …

Aurora – Simulating Cosmic Reionization

Aurora – Simulating Cosmic Reionization

A multi-million compute hours allocation by the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing on HPC system SuperMUC of the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) was used to carry out Aurora, a new set of radiation-hydrodynamical simulations of galaxy formation during reionization.
  
Principal Investigator: Dr. Andreas Pawlik, Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Garching (Germany)
HPC Platform: SuperMUC of LRZ - Date published: February 2015

More: Aurora – Simulating Cosmic Reionization …

A New Neutrino-Emission Asymmetry in Forming Neutron Stars

A New Neutrino-Emission Asymmetry in Forming Neutron Stars

The Stellar Core-Collapse Group at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA) is able to conduct the presently most advanced 3D supernova simulations thanks to a suitably constructed description of the neutrino physics and a highly efficient, extremely well parallelized numerical implementation on petascale system SuperMUC.
  
Principal Investigator: Hans-Thomas Janka, Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Garching (Germany)
HPC Platform: SuperMUC of LRZ - Date published: January 2015

More: A New Neutrino-Emission Asymmetry in Forming Neutron Stars …

Shock Acceleration in the Laboratory with Ultraintense Lasers

Shock Acceleration in the Laboratory with Ultraintense Lasers

A team of researchers has performed the largest simulations of unmagnetised shocks driven in astrophysical conditions to determine the parameters required to excite shocks in the laboratory, and studied the set of complex and nonlinear phenomena involved in these scenarios, such as magnetic field generation and particle acceleration.
  
Principal Investigator: Luís O. Silva, GoLP/Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear, Lisboa (Portugal)
HPC Platform: JUQUEEN of JSC - Date published: January 2015

More: Shock Acceleration in the Laboratory with Ultraintense Lasers …

SILCC: Simulating the Life Cycle of Molecular Clouds

Simulating the Life Cycle of Molecular Clouds

A European team of scientists from Cologne, Garching, Heidelberg, Prague and Zurich used GCS HPC resources to model representative regions of disk galaxies using adaptive, three-dimensional simulations at unprecedented resolution and with the necessary physical complexity to follow the full life-cycle of molecular clouds. They aim to provide a self-consistent answer as to how stellar feedback regulates the star formation efficiency of a galaxy, how molecular clouds are formed and destroyed, and how galactic outflows are driven.
  
Principal Investigator: Stefanie Walch, Universität zu Köln (Germany)
HPC Platform: SuperMUC of LRZ - Date published: September 2014

More: Simulating the Life Cycle of Molecular Clouds …

Magnetic Fields During Primordial Star Formation

Magnetic Fields During Primordial Star Formation

Using GCS HPC resources, a group of scientist from a number of international institutes were able to prove that very weak magnetic fields can be efficiently amplified during different stages of cosmic evolution.
  
Principal Investigator: Robi Banerjee, Hamburger Sternwarte (Germany)
HPC Platform: JUQUEEN of JSC - Date published: Sept. 2014

More: Magnetic Fields During Primordial Star Formation …

Exploring the Parameter Space of Thermonuclear Supernovae

Exploring the Parameter Space of Thermonuclear Supernovae

Type Ia supernovae, gigantic astrophysical explosions that completely disrupt one star and shine brighter than an entire galaxy consisting of 100 billion stars, have been successfully used to measure distances in the Universe. But what are the stars that give birth to Type Ia supernovae? The answer to this question remains elusive despite advances in modelling and observing these cosmic events over the past decades. From the perspective of theoretical modelling, only detailed multi-dimensional simulations of the explosion process on the most powerful supercomputers offer a way to tackle this long-standing problem.
  
Principal Investigator: Friedrich Röpke, Universität Würzburg (Germany)
HPC Platform: JUQUEEN of JSC - Date published: September 2014

More: Exploring the Parameter Space of Thermonuclear Supernovae …

Modeling Gravitational Wave Signals From Black Hole Binaries

Numerical Simulation of Binary Black Hole and Neutron Star Mergers

A team of about 20 scientists working in Europe, India, South Africa and the USA have been involved in an Astrophysics simulation project calculated on LRZ system SuperMUC. The obtained results will allow the efficient detection and identification of gravitational wave events, e.g. to tell apart black holes from neutron stars.
  
Principal Investigator: Dr. Sascha Husa, Universitat de les Illes Balears (Spain)
HPC Resources: SuperMUC of LRZ - Date published: September 2014

More: Numerical Simulation of Binary Black Hole and Neutron Star Mergers …

The Illustris Simulation: Revealing the Complexity of Galaxy Formation

The Illustris Simulation:
Revealing the Complexity of Galaxy Formation

An international team of scientists at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS), MIT, Harvard University and the University of Cambridge has carried out the “Illustris Simulation” on the SuperMUC and CURIE supercomputers, and created the largest and most sophisticated computational model of cosmic structure formation thus far.
  
Principal Investigator: Volker Springel, HITS, Universität Heidelberg (Germany)
HPC Platform: SuperMUC of LRZ - Date published: June 2014

More: The Illustris Simulation: Revealing the Complexity of Galaxy Formation …

Magneticum: Simulating Large Scale Structure Formation in the Universe

Magneticum: Simulating Large Scale Structure Formation in the Universe

In project Magneticum, scientists perform simulations of which the most computational intensive one covers a cosmic volume of 1 Gpc3. This allows the researchers, for the very first time, to self consistently study galaxy clusters and groups, galaxies, and active galaxy nuclei (AGNs) within an enormously large volume of the Universe.
  
Principal Investigator: Klaus Dolag, University Observatory Munich (Germany)
HPC Platform: SuperMUC of LRZ - Date published: March 2014

More: Magneticum: Simulating Large Scale Structure Formation in the Universe …

Numerical Simulation of Binary Black Hole and Neutron Star Mergers

Numerical Simulation of Binary Black Hole and Neutron Star Mergers

Scientists from the Albert Einstein Institute in Potsdam/Germany used HPC system SuperMUC to study the dynamics of compact-object binaries, i.e. neutron stars and black holes, and improve our understanding of strong gravity.
  
Principal Investigator: Luciano Rezzolla, Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute), Potsdam-Golm (Germany)
HPC Platform: SuperMUC of LRZ - Date published: March 2014

More: Numerical Simulation of Binary Black Hole and Neutron Star Mergers …

Project Vlasiator: Global Hybrid-Vlasov Simulation for Space Weather

Project Vlasiator: Global Hybrid-Vlasov Simulation for Space Weather

The HPC resources of HLRS Stuttgart enabled the world’s first global runs of the near-Earth space using a hybrid-Vlasov approach at highest resolutions.
  
Principal Investigator: Minna Palmroth, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki
HPC Resources: Hermit of HLRS - Date published: February 2014

More: Project Vlasiator: Global Hybrid-Vlasov Simulation for Space Weather …

What Heats the Beautiful One Million Hot Solar Corona?

What Heats the Beautiful One Million Degree Hot Solar Corona?

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen employed a three-dimensional numerical model on GCS supercomputer Hermit of HLRS Stuttgart to investigate the heating process of the highly structured and dynamic corona.
  
Principal Investigator: Sven Bingert, Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Göttingen (Germany)
HPC Platform: Hermit of HLRS - Date published: February 2014

More: What Heats the Beautiful One Million Degree Hot Solar Corona? …

Multi-Scale Supercomputer Simulations of the Birth of Stars

Multi-Scale Supercomputer Simulations of the Birth of Stars

An international team of scientists used GCS supercomputing resources to study the evolution and fragmentation of clouds into stars.
  
Principal Investigator: Paolo Padoan, Instituto de Ciencias del Cosmos (ICC), Universidad de Barcelona (Spain)
HPC Platform: SuperMUC of LRZ - Date published: February 2014

More: Multi-Scale Supercomputer Simulations of the Birth of Stars …

Simulations of Global Accretion Discs: Turbulent Transport and Dynamo Action

Simulations of Global Accretion Discs: Turbulent Transport and Dynamo Action

Accretion discs can power some of the most energetic phenomena in the universe and understanding how they work is very important for the comprehension of different astrophysical problems like how stars are formed or what happens in the central cores of galaxies.
  
Principal Investigator: Gianluigi Bodo, INAF Astrophysical Observatory of Torino (Italy)
HPC Platform: JUQUEEN of JSC - Date published: February 2014

More: Simulations of Global Accretion Discs: Turbulent Transport and Dynamo Action …

LocalUniverse - Our Neighbourhood in the Universe

LocalUniverse - Our Neighbourhood in the Universe

Scientists used GCS supercomputing resources to perform a series of state-of-the-art constrained simulations of the first galaxies and their radiative effects in our Local Universe, among the largest and most detailed of their kind, following tens of billions of particles, while also modelling the complex physics involved in this process.
  
Principal Investigator: Dr. Ilian Iliev, Astronomy Centre, Physics and Astronomy, University of Sussex (U.K.)
HPC Resources: SuperMUC of LRZ - Date published: January 2014

More: LocalUniverse - Our Neighbourhood in the Universe …

How to fit the Local Universe into a Supercomputer?

How to Fit the Local Universe into a Supercomputer?

Scientists improved and combined methods to simulate the formation of the actual distribution of galaxies and galaxy clusters which allowed them to simulate the density distribution in the local universe up to distances of 670 million light-years.
  
Principal Investigator: Steffen Heß, Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam/AIP (Germany)
HPC Platform: JUQUEEN of JSC - Date published: January 2014

More: How to Fit the Local Universe into a Supercomputer? …

World's Largest Simulations of Supersonic, Compressible Turbulence With a Numerical Grid Resolution of 40,963 Points

World's Largest Simulation of Supersonic, Compressible Turbulence

To advance the so far limited knowledge of density probability distribution function and the power spectrum of compressible, supersonic turbulence, a team of astrophysicists compared hydrodynamic models with numerical resolutions of 2563–40963 mesh points and with two distinct driving mechanisms, solenoidal (divergence-free) driving and compressive (curl-free) driving. By doing so, the scientists ran the world's largest simulation of supersonic turbulence on GCS supercomputers.
  
Principal Investigator: Dr. Christoph Federrath, Monash University, Clayton (Australia)
HPC Platform: SuperMUC of LRZ - Date published: October 2014

More: World's Largest Simulation of Supersonic, Compressible Turbulence …

Gas Induced Orbital Decay of Binary Systems

Gas Induced Orbital Decay of Binary Systems

Using hydrodynamic simulations on GCS supercomputers, a team of scientists from the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy, Bonn, and Jülich Supercomputing Centre investigated the influences of surrounding gas onto the period of binary systems.
  
Principal Investigator: Christina Korntreff, Jülich Supercomputing Centre (Germany)
HPC Platform: JUROPA of JSC - Date published: September 2013

More: Gas Induced Orbital Decay of Binary Systems …

Spatial structure of the ejected heavy elements for different stellar models and explosion energies.

Three-dimensional Simulations of Supernova Explosions

Massive stars end their lives as core-collapse supernovae when the stellar core implodes to a neutron star and the stellar envelope is expelled. Using computer models, we have simulated the mixing processes occurring during the explosion without assuming any symmetry.
  
Principal Investigator: Ewald Müller, Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Garching/München (Germany)
HPC Platform: SuperMUC of LRZ - Date published: September 2013

More: Three-dimensional Simulations of Supernova Explosions …

Star Formation in Extreme Conditions

Star Formation in Extreme Conditions

Numerical simulations are a crucial tool to understand the physics of gas turbulence and star formation: there is no analytic theory. More than six decades of spatial scales need to be described, which is best done with "adaptive resolution" codes on supercomputers.
  
Principal Investigator: Frederic Bournaud, CEA Saclay (France)
HPC Platform: SuperMUC of LRZ - Date published: September 2013

More: Star Formation in Extreme Conditions …

Distribution of stars

Star Formation in the Turbulent Interstellar Medium

One of the cutting-edge problems in current astrophysical research is the formation and evolution of galaxies similar to our Milky Way Galaxy.
  
Principal Investigator: Wolfram Schmidt, Institut für Astrophysik, Universität Göttingen (Germany)
HPC Platform: SuperMUC of LRZ - Date published: September 2013

More: Star Formation in the Turbulent Interstellar Medium …

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