The Data Stack

September 23, 2011 Previous day Next day

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“The universe we live in is enormous,” explains Professor Stephen Hawking. “It is complicated and non-linear. We are trying to develop a seamless history, from the first reactions of the first seconds after the big bang through to the present day, 13.7 million years later.

Hawking is working with the COSMOS Consortium at Cambridge University, which is trying to understand the origins of the universe. Helping it is the COSMOS super computer based on Intel® Xeon® processors 7500 series.

“High-performance computing is so important in cosmology because of one word: data,” says Hawking. In the past two decades, cosmology has emerged as a data-driven field with many successful space- and ground-based experiments telling us more about the universe. The deluge of data has allowed cosmologists to construct increasingly sophisticated mathematical theories with sufficient precision to capture all that is being observed. We need to create realistic mini big bangs on the COSMOS super computer to fast-forward to today and then test if the predicted universe matches the latest observations. Without super computers like COSMOS, we would not be able to reach out and make contact between theory and the real universe to test whether our ideas are really right.”

For the whole story, watch our new COSMOS video. As always, you can find this one, and many others, in the Reference Room.

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