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Simulating the Whole Universe

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the first,-assume-a-spherical-cow dept.

Technology 326

Roland Piquepaille writes "An international group of cosmologists, the Virgo Consortium, has realized the first simulation of the entire universe, starting 380,000 years after the Big Bang and going up to now. In 'Computing the Cosmos,' IEEE Spectrum writes that the scientists used a 4.2 teraflops system at the Max Planck Society's Computing Center in Garching, Germany, to do the computations. The whole universe was simulated by ten billion particles, each having a mass a billion times that of our sun. As it was necessary to compute the gravitational interactions between each of the ten billion mass points and all the others, a task that needed 60,000 years, the computer scientists devised a couple of tricks to reduce the amount of computations. And in June 2004, the first simulation of our universe was completed. The resulting data, which represents about 20 terabytes, will be available to everyone in the months to come, at least to people with a high-bandwidth connection. Read more here about the computing aspects of the simulation, but if you're interested by cosmology, the long original article is a must-read."

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Obligatory question (4, Funny)

BinBoy (164798) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158938)

Does the simulation include simulated scientists simulating the universe?

Re:Obligatory question (3, Funny)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158978)

At least you didn't read it incorrect like I did. I thought it said "stimulating the universe". That's tough. All those weird fetishes and everything. And who knows what aliens like. (Although I guess if someone has an alien fetish we can kill 2 birds with 1 stone).

Re:Obligatory question (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158988)

Does the simulation include simulated scientists simulating the universe?
From the summary:
The whole universe was simulated by ten billion particles, each having a mass a billion times that of our sun.
I somehow doubt that there are scientists which have such a large mass.

Re:Obligatory question (5, Funny)

Gyan (6853) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159002)


I somehow doubt that there are scientists which have such a large mass.

How much can hot air weigh?

Re:Obligatory question (1)

yintercept (517362) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159108)

I somehow doubt that there are scientists which have such a large mass.

...now, if we were talking about the weight of egos...

Re:Obligatory question (1)

skraps (650379) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159037)

They are simulating using particles that have the mass of ten billion Sun's. The article clearly shows that they are not using Sun machines. Nor ten billion of them.

So, they aren't simulating *this* universe. That makes it ok. Trust me.

Re:Obligatory question (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159078)

Does the simulation include simulated scientists simulating the universe?

Um... no! Duh! It includes simulated scientists simulating a simulated universe.

Stack overflow (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159105)

Apparently this requires more stack space than exists in this universe.

Re:Obligatory question (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159123)


Does the simulation include simulated scientists simulating the universe?


Yes, and it also includes simulated scientists simulating simulated scientists simulating the universe. But no more levels of scientists after that --- from there on, it's turtles all the way down.

Re:Obligatory question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159165)

So, doing thus will involve the simulation of the universe by simulated scientists, which will, initiate simulation of the universe by the simulation of simulated scientists, etc. And, definitely its take most of the calculation resources, so, why should you actually bother with the least important program parts if it's possible to regain the sim of every internal level of simulations of the universe by simulating the simulation itself? Here goes a part of reverse-engineered program source, in which, by using an innovative l33t diz-C++-ing tech, we were able to also reverse-engineer the comments (!!!).

#include <stdio.h>
#include "un-misc.h" // simu_step function

// Simulation of the universe, main sequence;

int simu_universe(void)
{
simu_step(-1); // Not implemented yet, therefore - not important
return simu_universe + simu_step(1); // Simulation of the simulation, main cycle
}

// Prog initialization

int main(void)
{
return simu_universe;
}


Ahh, what could be better than a good old infinite recursion ;-)

Dr. Mike Johnson claims dibs on God (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10158939)

"I always wanted to be God." said Dr. Johnson. "When they announced this project, the first words out of my mouth were 'Dibs on God!' I even have plans to introduce a son in a few billion simulated years. This is going to be exciting."

Stupid mods (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10158976)

It's not offtopic. Try reading and thinking next time.

NOT AN ADVERTISMENT FOR THINK GEEK !! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10158941)

This isn't an ad for anything on think geek !

Has a mistake been made?

NOT AN ADVERTISMENT FOR THINK GEEK !!

Re:NOT AN ADVERTISMENT FOR THINK GEEK !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10158977)

Oh Jesus ! Please mod this up. Oh Jesus.

Re:NOT AN ADVERTISMENT FOR THINK GEEK !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159020)

Are you suggesting that Slashdot has lost editorial integrity, and is instead planting advertisments as news items?

Slashdot has about 172,000 unique hosts per day. That's a good reason to get loose around the underpants when it comes to forgetting about principles.

Re:NOT AN ADVERTISMENT FOR THINK GEEK !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159033)

Oh god. Oh god. Please mod this up. Oh god.

Re:NOT AN ADVERTISMENT FOR THINK GEEK !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159056)

They have a figure of 250,000 in their heads though. But I think that's been seasonally adjusted to take into account the fact that maybe that's what they'd like it to be. If I had an audience of "250",000 , then I'd advertise think geek, and pretend to 250,000 people that it's a real article.

Also, I make the first comment have a link that points to think geek. Not only would I plant the story, but I'd plant the first comment as well.

Re:NOT AN ADVERTISMENT FOR THINK GEEK !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159081)

Also, the average slashdot reader looks at 1.7 pages. That means most people only look at the first page , and don't bother looking at the forum postings. So nobody much sees these comments, apart from the moderators who work 24 hours a day.

Speaking of lose underpants, if your a moderator looking at these words now. How come we just managed to meet right now, at this moment in time.

Here's your message: It's ok to be a girl in a mans world. Because your emotions rule your head.

Re:NOT AN ADVERTISMENT FOR THINK GEEK !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159097)

I'm in the market for a product which will my "offshore" development more visibility. I want to make it easier to move those jobs to india.

Do you think that the advertisments on slashdot for a product produced by it's owners , which promises to give give those projects more "visibility" actually works.

Because I don't trust those offshore workers. I want them to be more visible. But at the same time I want to fire you all, and give them your jobs.

Do you think customers like me are slashdot's target audience?

Just a thought. But a spikey thought.

Like the serious man with glasses looking at this comment.

Re:NOT AN ADVERTISMENT FOR THINK GEEK !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159104)

Oh Jesus. Oh god. Oh God. Oh God. Please mod this up. Oh God. You think this is an inside joke.

Re:NOT AN ADVERTISMENT FOR THINK GEEK !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159124)

Slashdot's reach is 430 per million. So for one (real) million people, slashdot reaches 430 of those.

Great, so maybe. . . (3, Funny)

Sialagogue (246874) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158942)


I can search it to find out where I left my cell phone last night.

Re:Great, so maybe. . . (1)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158962)

I can search it to find out where I left my cell phone last night
Have you tried calling it to see who answers? I've recovered mine three times that way (over the years, not in the last week!)

--
GMail invites for iPod referrals [slashdot.org]

bittorrent (1, Funny)

dioscaido (541037) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158943)

Fire up your bittorrents, people!

Why bother? (4, Funny)

sometwo (53041) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158945)

The answer is 42. Just google it [google.com]

Re:Why bother? (2, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159003)

Well, maybe they hoped to find the question?

Re:Why bother? (1)

kerskine (46804) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159091)

The minute one of you start seeing pan-dimensional mice - I'm outta here

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159096)

You are so funny.

Re:Why bother? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159122)

The answer is 42. Just google it

Might as well go with that. Trying to simulate the whole universe with a computer is like trying to simulate all data on earth with an md5 checksum.

get your 42 here! fresh 42! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159138)

The best part is that if you search for "42", you don't get calculator results, but you do get the ads:
42
Buy 42 on ebay. Low
prices. Wide selection. aff
buy.ebay.com

eBay: 42
Low Prices, Huge Selection, Easy to
Shop. Get Started on eBay Now! -Aff
www.eBay.com/42

I know eBay ads come up often, but I just find the fact that ebay bought ads for "42" (and apparently other numbers) just astounding. Do they really think a lot of people want to buy numbers on eBay? I, for one, buy my numbers down on the corner from a guy named Mickey.

From the library reference desk (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10158947)

Do you have a 1:1 scale map of the world I can use?

Uh yes, but it's being used right now.

LMAO (1)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158949)

I was going to comment on the absurdity of the claim to simulate everything, but due to a slashcode hiccup, I got "nothing to see here, move along." What The? I thought that EVERYTHING was here?

Oh, and the ObStevenWright: You can't have (simulate?) everything. Where would you put it?


--
GMail invites for iPod referrals [slashdot.org]

Great (1, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159048)

We slashdotted the entire universe. Way to go.

Wait wait wait (1)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159086)

The last time I checked, we didn't know a whole lot about the nature of the universe as it stands... how the hell are these guys claiming that they

a) Know how it was at the start

and

b) can compare it to whats out there already when its done?

Re:Wait wait wait (2, Funny)

rokzy (687636) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159111)

well was the last time you checked in 1930?

Re:Wait wait wait (1)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159140)

Hahahah, ah my sides... okay oh great sage and eminent scholar, what shape is the universe? Fairly simple question you might think. I mean, geometrically, what shape is it? Is it spherical? Cone shaped? What was the latest one... oh yeah its shaped like a horn...

Do try to keep up with current findings, eh?

Re:Wait wait wait (2, Informative)

iroll (717924) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159125)

The article answers said questions nicely.

a) They didn't start at the beginning; they started at 380K years--the "snapshot" of which has been developed by looking at cosmic background radiation.

b) Using telescopes, they've observed very large-scale structures in the universe (arrangements of clusters of galaxies), and they are hoping to see similar large-scale structures in their model.

great stuff... (1)

pyce (798025) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158952)

"time to put this 56.7k line to work"...

Hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159139)

A lot of Slahdotters live in the US [businessweek.com] you insensitive clod.

Imagine? .-) (2, Funny)

Libor Vanek (248963) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158953)

Now just imagine a beowulf cluster of... damned!

Douglas Adams !?! (1)

jrl87 (669651) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158956)

Does anyone else see the striking similarities to the Hitchikers Guide?

Simulating the Universe to find answers and the number 4.2 can't be a coincidence, can it?

Re:Douglas Adams !?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10158970)

"Simulating the Universe to find answers and the number 4.2 can't be a coincidence, can it?"

Yes.

Re:Douglas Adams !?! (1)

skraps (650379) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159024)

Official answer: YES, it can. :-)

Re:Douglas Adams !?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159084)

That's the "official" answer. LOL!!

That's because THEY don't want you to KNOW! LLOOLL!!

They don't want you to know that they're huge geeks too!! LLLOOOLLL!!!

Hit it, chewie! (2, Funny)

mercutiojb (655747) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158964)

Sounds like the first Hyperspace Nav-Computer to me...

NOT cosmetology (0, Troll)

rbruels (253523) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158966)

Before you non-astrophysics types start trying to be clever, it's "cosmology" not "cosmetology." Stars, not pop stars.

You can tell, I get this one a lot. :P

Umm, Paradox? (2, Interesting)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158968)

How can you accurately simulate the computer that is simulating the entire universe?

Basically, you'd end up infinitely short on processing power. The faster you make the computer, the faster you need the computer to be. It's like working out so that you can get strong enough to pick yourself up by the bootstraps. The stronger you get, the more you weigh and you make the impossible less possible.

LK

Re:Umm, Paradox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10158996)

Clearly you don't understand what the point of this research is. Nor do you understand the manner in which it was carried out, nor how to use the data. What do you understand? Oh, that's right. Third-rate recurvsive arguments showing how something worthwhile really isn't. Whoo-hoo, good luck in life with those skills.

Re:Umm, Paradox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159040)

Right you are my friend. The problem is that you would then have to simulate the simulation which would lead to another power issue. This requires a simulation of a simulation of a simulation. This would go on and on until you finallly converge on a simulation point. This would be a quantum singularity where time and anti-time meet in an annihilation. Your only hope now is that Q shows up and gives you a chance to make sure those amino acids do come together.

Re:Umm, Paradox? (1)

jyda (114207) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159044)

It's like working out so that you can get strong enough to pick yourself up by the bootstraps. The stronger you get, the more you weigh and you make the impossible less possible.

I think you need to take another thought about what the real reason is why you can't pick yourself up... ;-)

Re:Umm, Paradox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159079)

How can you accurately simulate the computer that is simulating the entire universe?


You obviously don't understand what a simulation is. You abstract away details such as some computer on a tiny little planet. Why do you think people do simulations of computer systems instead of just implementing?

Re:Umm, Paradox? (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159154)

Why do you think people do simulations of computer systems instead of just implementing?

Because you can sometimes make a simulator that is better than the real thing. [vmac.org]

LK

RTFA (Re:Umm, Paradox?) (5, Insightful)

kirkjobsluder (520465) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159093)

How can you accurately simulate the computer that is simulating the entire universe?

The same way you simulate anything else. You simplify the problem down to a manageable number of particles that represent larger units of whatever you are simulating. Since in looks like they are interested in mass and gravity at the galactic supercluster scale, they can use particles that weigh much more than any individual star.

So the fundamental challenge for the Virgo team is to approximate that reality in a way that is both feasible to compute and fine-grained enough to yield useful insights. The Virgo astrophysicists have tackled it by coming up with a representation of that epoch's distribution of matter using 10 billion mass points, many more than any other simulation has ever attempted to use.


THESE DIMENSIONLESS POINTS have no real physical meaning; they are just simulation elements, a way of modeling the universe's matter content. Each point is made up of normal and dark matter in proportion to the best current estimates, having a mass a billion times that of our sun, or 2000 trillion trillion trillion (239) kilograms. (The 10 billion particles together account for only 0.003 percent of the observable universe's total mass, but since the universe is homogeneous on the largest scales, the model is more than enough to be representative of the full extent of the cosmos.)

Re:Umm, Paradox? (1)

LucidBeast (601749) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159098)

I would think that they are trying to see if their favourite models of universe actually produce something similar to what we currently are experiencing. Article didn't mention if that was the case.

Re:Umm, Paradox? (1)

wviperw (706068) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159130)

That is why you've got to put limits on the universe that you create. You think God didn't think about this when creating his Universe v1.0? Of course he thought of it. That is why we have Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, the speed of light, etc. as limiters.

Is it just me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10158975)

Or does this sound like the movie "The Thirteenth Floor"? More importantly, does this guy have the power to crash the universe?

But did they try... (1)

Avian visitor (257765) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158981)

But did they try to build a simulator that would simulate the entire universe in the simulated universe?

Did they get a giant sign million light years across floating in space, saying:

Simulating universe in a simulated universe is not going to work.
You just have to try it, didn't you?

Finally! (1)

borgdows (599861) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158982)

We know when The Internet Meltdown predicted [slashdot.org] on Slashdot will arrive.

When THAT 20 terabytes result data will be linked on /.

So, (1)

noselasd (594905) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158984)

that should only take around 6 and a half minute to download [slashdot.org]

heh. (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158986)

How long before denizens of the simulated universe start demanding equal rights and for our universe to stop negatively impacting their destiny?

I wonder if our universe is just a simulation sometimes...

so explain to me how... (1)

Nik Picker (40521) | more than 10 years ago | (#10158987)

they recreated the universe [1], and gave it away to anyone who was interested !

so somehow the big news will be the big news and not how some amazingly large amount of unique and never before constructed data will be given away free and not copy writed !

my mind simply implodes like some thing out of a capital punishment device ina HHGTTG story .

[1] I now it was simulated.

Shortcuts (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159009)

"the computer scientists devised a couple of tricks to reduce the amount of computations..."

Somehow I don't see how adding a few more shortcuts to the assumptions made matters, since they convienently decided to "reduce" mass to particles a billion times the mass of our sun. Really, what kind of useful calculations can you make when you vary that significantly from your target system.

Or did they assume the mass of each scientist's brain was also a billion times the mass of our sun?

define "significantly" (5, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159146)

what kind of useful calculations can you make when you vary that significantly from your target system.


To you and all the other (-1, Redundant) posts on how the system can't simulate every single detail in the Universe: it's a *simulation*, not the real thing, OK?


The first thing you need to do when you plan a simulation is to determine exactly what's significant or not. In this case, they decided that a set of particles with a billion times the mass of our sun would be appropriate. That's because what they are studying is mostly the long range effects of gravitation, where "long range" is defined as a sphere that contains a mass of ten billion suns.


When and if someone wants to study the workings of the Universe at a smaller scale than that, then they will have to simulate at a smaller scale. Phew, people are so dense! Next thing they will say that because a photograph didn't capture every single hair in a person's head or every single pore in their skin, that photo doesn't represent that person at all...

Re:Shortcuts (1)

jpflip (670957) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159163)

It's pretty much just a resolution issue. This sort of simulation is like looking at the universe through very blurry glasses - you can study the big features, but not the small ones. In this case, "small-scale" features include planets, stars, or even the inner structure of galaxies. These simulations can, however, tell us fairly reliably about the formation of large galaxies, galaxy clusters, and superclusters - the really big stuff in our universe. One other interesting approximating simulations like this often make is to completely neglect ordinary matter (gas, dust, stars, etc.) and study only the behavior of dark matter. The dark matter outweighs the ordinary matter by so much that this is a reasonable thing to do. The structure of galaxies themselves, however, depend a great deal on the behavior of this ordinary matter, so such simulations are unable to study this very well anyway.

WHAT SHOULD I DO? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159013)

Hello. I am really sorry that this message is off-topic. But I'm in a desperate situation, in a dire need of your help. I am aware a lot of intelligent IT people read this forum.

My problem is - I have come up with an idea that will be a revolutionary solution concerning car theft. I have created a device that will drop car theft to zero (0%) percent. With this device installed it is virtually impossible to steal the car. How can I make sure no one can steal my idea? Who should I contact regarding this device I have invented?

Thank you very much for your help!

Re:WHAT SHOULD I DO? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159137)

You can't steal an idea you stupid asshole. "He he lights his taper from my own does not my own diminish".

CUT OFF YOUR BALLS!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159153)

Scientific studies have determined that testicles are what keep people from selling their revolutionary ideas. Cut off your scrotum and all your problems will vanish as if by magic.

Simulating something that never happened. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159015)

Big BANG in your pants baby! YAH!

Admit it... (1, Funny)

Zygote-IC- (512412) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159018)

How many of you read that as "stimulating the whole universe" and immediately thought of pr0n?

Oh...

just me...

How about Boinc? (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159021)

"a task that needed 60,000 years, the computer scientists devised a couple of tricks to reduce the amount of computations"

OR

60,000 Computers all running accrros the globe in a simulated computing project.

http://boinc.berkeley.edu/ [berkeley.edu]

Now i know theres problems with this. They were using a more powerful computer than any of us have in our homes, plus the problems with simulations going wrong but overall its possible i think.

http://climateprediction.net/ [climateprediction.net] manage to predict the the weather (well, we think they have!).

Re:How about Boinc? (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159053)

Most likely it was not parallelizable enough for a distributed-computing solution to help.

Re:How about Boinc? (1)

Yavi (538405) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159133)

The problem is that, to be accurate, you would have to calculate the gravitational forces on any given point by all other points. Now this diminishes according the inverse square law as distance increases, but it's a factor none the less. If you break the job into workloads, how do you accuratly simulate particals from outside your workload?

Re:How about Boinc? (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159161)

These are problems which i think are the reasoning that they didn't apply this method, one which i haven't yet worked out a cure for.

How ever, i started thinking over a new way of running DC projects, with the idea of very small work units (10min ~) each. These would work really well with any computer thats online all the time. I think you can see where this would be going. More of a on demand computing set.

Shame that it seems most DC users dont have machines yet upto this standard. (i.e. dsl lines etc).

And in a month... (1)

LordHatrus (763508) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159022)

They'll have a slashdot link to a 20 terrabyte file. Server PWNAGE. :)

cosmetology (1)

racerxroot (786164) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159027)

wait... what does makeup have to do with the universe? cosmetologists figured this stuff out? ooooh... cosmologists... nevermind, i get it... yea, very cool.. i still think it would have been more interesting if cosmetologists had figured the universe out though...

Let's look upward instead (2, Funny)

Teekayfortoowon (791057) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159043)

It's turtles all the way down.

Now, where can I find the scientists working on a reality-hacking machine?

One of the tricks (2, Funny)

hrieke (126185) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159051)

Dim UNIVERSE AS INT

Now we can get to the tough questions (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159055)

Now that the hard simulations are out of the way maybe the simulations can work on other tough issues. For example, why is it that bacon makes other foods taste so much better?

Ummmmm, baaaccoonnn (obligatory simpsons quote)

What about apple pie? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159168)

why is it that bacon makes other foods taste so much better?


I do not understand your question.

Mmhmm. (0, Troll)

D1Rammstein (810820) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159058)

George Bush Will prolly have the simulated Iraq Bombed to. Then Claim the computer had "Misunderestimated" Him. World's a beautiful place aint it?

Piquepaille (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159059)

It's the god damn retarted blogger again!

Why can't the editors either read the fucking article (crappy blog entry) to see if there's any meat, or perhaps even ignore the idiot itself?

eh? (0)

awx (169546) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159064)

Directly from the article: The machine, a cluster of powerful IBM Unix computers, has a total of 812 processors and 2 terabytes of memory, for a peak performance of 4.2 teraflops, or trillions of calculations per second. It took 31st place late last year in the Top500 list, a ranking of the world's most powerful computers by Jack Dongarra, a professor of computer science at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and other supercomputer experts.

But as it turns out, even the most powerful machine on Earth couldn't possibly replicate exactly the matter distribution conditions of the 380 000-year-old universe the Virgo group chose as the simulation's starting point.


Slight failure of basic logic here...

thinking too hard (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159115)

You are assuming that the author is stating that the machine in question is the most powerful in the world. Those three sentences do not convey that meaning, however. The author is stating that 'even [if we were using] the most powerful machine on Earth'.

Re:eh? (1)

iroll (717924) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159156)

Only if the most powerful machine on Earth could replicate exactly the matter distribution conditions of the 380,000-year-old universe. Which it could not.

And in other news... (4, Funny)

mikael (484) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159067)

... the intergalactic branch of the RIAA has filed a "Cease and Desist" order against the scientists, citing Copyright law; that anyone giving out free copies of the universe without first seeking permission from the copyright holder is a violation of intergalactic intellectual property rights.

Is this like... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159069)

...downloading naked pictures of everyone?

Kind of useless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159074)

"These results, which represent 64 snapshots of a virtual universe, will be available to all of us in the months to come."

Wow, only 64 snapshots, and all they simulated is gravity. What exactly will anybody find out this? That the particles attract each other?

It seems like an incredible waste of time and computing power.

Furthermore, the algorithmic tricks they used don't sound like anything new. Ask one of the top 10 on http://www.topcoder.com and they'll probably find out a couple more tricks that would reduce the running time required by 100x.

I think they would've done a much better job with 1 million particles of possibly different types, simulating several other forces.

Re:Kind of useless? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159107)


Wow, only 64 snapshots, and all they simulated is gravity. What exactly will anybody find out this? That the particles attract each other?


They learn how large-scale structures formed in the universe ... galaxies, galaxy clusters, etc.


It seems like an incredible waste of time and computing power.


It is, if you don't care about how the universe as we see it came to be. If you do, it isn't.


Ask one of the top 10 on http://www.topcoder.com and they'll probably find out a couple more tricks that would reduce the running time required by 100x.


People have been developing and enhancing codes like this for decades. They're already extremely well-tuned.


I think they would've done a much better job with 1 million particles


Pulling a figure out of your ass ...


of possibly different types


As far as structure formation goes, all you need to know is that there's a chunk of mass.


simulating several other forces.


Largely irrelevant to the effects they're trying to model. Obviously, you aren't a topcoder.

I got the first post... (0, Offtopic)

Draknek (701283) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159087)

But due to space restrictions, mine and the one you see had to be represented as one post.

Man these guys should have just waited... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159089)

Sounds like that MultiTheftAuto engine can do all this AND support drive-bys!

Tree / Multipole expansion (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159094)

The article indicates that the "tricks" these researchers used were the octree and multipole expansion--both of which have been used in gravity and potential theory for many years. They reduce the N^2 interaction problem to N or N Log(N), depending upon implementation. The story makes it sound like these researchers invented the technique; I assume the writer misunderstood the scientists, because it certainly predates them.

Sim proves universe never ends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159099)

...just an infinite number of expansion packs. Sims: Makin Mulitverses!, Sims: Hot, Naked Sinularities, etc....

Second gunman with JFK? (1)

floridagators1 (726469) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159101)

Couldn't we just go back and look to see if there really was a second gunman? __

Instead of simulating the universe, it would be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159110)

more fun to sinulate [sinulator.com] it. That would also fit with some new theories about "action at a distance".

Research in Virginal Territory? (2, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159120)

Given that this group is called "the Virgo Consortium", is it any wonder that they have to resort to a "simulated" "Big Bang"?

Include unknown stuff? (1)

oneandoneisten (810842) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159121)

Did these guys also simulate intelligent life on other planets? If so, it would be nice to see if we humans will contact them in the next decades. And what about black holes and other fuzzy things? How can you simulate something without knowing how it works?

Finally, the next version of Elite! (1)

mark0 (750639) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159134)

Perhaps now David Braben and Frontier Developments [frontier.co.uk] will be able to write the long-awaited next version of Elite [eliteclub.co.uk] !

Apparently, this will be the physics engine... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159135)

...used by Duke Nukem: Forever.

Correction... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10159136)

They simulated a universe. They didn't simulate the universe. Unless our universe suddenly only has a subset of the laws it used to and now consists of nothing but a billion very massive particl[NO EXISTENTIAL CARRIER]

threads? (1)

graveyhead (210996) | more than 10 years ago | (#10159150)

First, the researchers divided the simulated cube into several billion smaller volumes. During the gravitational calculations, points within one of these volumes are lumped together--their masses are summed.
...
a tree algorithm to simplify and speed up the calculations for this realm of short-distance interactions. Think of all 10 billion points as the leaves of a tree. Eight of these leaves attach to a stem, eight stems attach to a branch, and so on, until all the points are connected to the trunk. To evaluate the force on a given point, the program climbs up the tree from the root, adding the contributions from branches and stems found along the way until it encounters individual leaves

Wow. What did the threads look like in this app?! The article describes it as a 'simple program', but concurrency over these data structures is very impressive :)

Also, I wonder if they used GMP for their math?

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