The simulation was carried out using the ATERUI II supercomputer, dedicated to astronomy projects. The supercomputer located in Iwate, Japan has a peak performance of over 3 Pflops, but even with all that power, it still took a whole year to analyze all the data and create the simulation.
“To produce Uchuu, we used… the 40,200 processors (processor cores) available exclusively for 48 hours each month,” said Tomoaki Ishiyama, associate professor at Chiba University who developed the code for the project. “Twenty million supercomputer hours were consumed and 3 petabytes of data generated, the equivalent of 894,784,853 images from a 12-megapixel cell phone. “
The simulation examines dark matter halos which are large-scale structures that could tell us about the formation of galaxies and the early universe. The large-scale nature of the simulation makes it a valuable tool for studying the evolution of the universe over time, as it shows very remote regions that represent the first stages of the life of the universe.
“Uchuu is like a time machine,” said Julia F. Ereza, doctoral student. student at Instituto Astrofísica Andalucía in Spain using Uchuu. “We can move forward, backward and stop in time, we can ‘zoom in’ on a single galaxy or ‘zoom in’ to visualize an entire cluster, we can see what is really going on at every moment and at every place in the world. Universe from its early days to the present day, being an essential tool for studying the Cosmos.
And yes, if you want to experience the wonder of exploring the whole (virtual) universe on your own, then you can, because the team has made the entire simulation available for free download. for all those who wish it. Although fair warning – even compressed the simulation takes 100 terabytes, so you will need a lot of free hard disk space.
To download the simulation and learn more about interacting with it, you can go to the Uchuu simulation website and its associated GitHub page. The group also plans to publish more data in the future, including virtual galaxy catalogs and gravitational lens maps.
The research is published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.