Researchers at the Arizona University have used the school’s Ocelote supercomputer as a “UniverseMachine” that generates hundreds of thousands of mini universes to see how nicely they line up with the real cosmos. Rather than attempt to portray every nuance of the entire universe (even a single totally modeled galaxy would require an excessive amount of computing power), the group devised a system that had just sufficient resolution to scale from supernovae to a “sizeable chunk” of observed space. Each virtual universe had a special set of rules, and it was a matter of seeing which simulations lined up the closest with actual information.
The production of approximately 8 million simulated universes took ‘just’ three weeks.
The approach is just not helping to understand how galaxies evolve; however, is challenging current theories. To start with, galaxies might produce stars for significantly longer than earlier thought. Star formation should have ended many years ago under present models, and dark matter might not have been quite so hostile to that form within the universe’s early era.
Scientists aren’t essentially going to toss out their current data. There could be gaps in information, and there might be plenty of room for finer-grained element as computing performance improves. Even so, this might still characterize a boon for science — definitely for anyone worried that it might take decades or centuries before computer systems could come close to providing helpful recreations.