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The Universe: Simulating the First 13 Billion Years

by Kenny Hoeschen

MIT scientists look back at the first 13 billion years of our universe — from a few million years after the Big Bang to present day — in the most advanced computer simulation ever created. Dubbed the Illustris Project, it took the team more than five years to create the simulation and the actual run time took three months using 8,000 CPUs.

The entire simulation takes place inside a virtual universe measuring 350 million light-years on a side and contains an unprecedented resolution of 12 billion elements. The result is a population of elliptical and spiral galaxies which reflect the observed distribution of galaxies and the characteristics of hydrogen on large scales.

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