call it cosmic cookery, but it's all about unlocking the secret
recipe that created the universe itself.
In the last month, researchers from Durham University’s
Institute of Computational Cosmology cooked up their own virtual
galaxy using a super computer!
Head Chef was Professor Carlos Frenk and what his team produced
was a computer simulation that built up a galaxy with its own
stars, which is remarkably similar to a real galaxy like
The computer was fed with basic facts about the Big Bang, the
laws of Physics that apply on earth and ordinary matter that makes
up the planets and set to work. To create the virtual galaxy took
an entire rack of computers seven months with 128 processors,
number-crunching through 450 billion instructions per second.
By building up this virtual galaxy they are able to test
different hypotheses and compare with the real universe in order to
try to understand what exactly was at play when the universe began,
and how it became the way it is today.
As the power of super computers grows over the next decade they
will be able to build up increasingly detailed versions of the
universe itself, allowing them to unlock more of its secrets, but
they have already learnt a lot.