IBM’s supercomputer, Mira, happens to be the third-fastest computer in the world. Naturally, it can handle quadrillions of computations per second to accomplish some of the most difficult and complex tasks. Cosmologists are now gearing up Mira to create a simulation of an entire universe, sifting through the 13 billion years since Big Bang.
Such a task would simply be impossible for conventional computers, given the sheer number of computations that are required to be done. Mira is able to do so only because it is juiced up with 768,000 cores which furnish 8 petaflops of processing power for this monstrous computer!
Until now, creating a simulation of a process as complex as the creation of universe itself had been impossible due to computing restraints. But with the processing power Mira commands, cosmologists are finally optimistic that such a feat can be accomplished.
The aim is to discern the movements of trillions of particles through the universe, their collisions with each other and the consequent creation or disruption of structures. The simulation will last for a fortnight and will be studied to gauge the veracity of the prevalent theories of astrophysics.
The whole project is being hosted at Argonne National Laboratory and if all goes well, the researchers will finally be able to validate, or debunk, our current understanding of the universe’s development.