Scientists to use supercomputers to “shine light” on black holes

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 - 16:23

Washington: Scientists at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in the US are all set to make use of two of the fastest supercomputers in the world in their quest to “shine light” on black holes.

Since light cannot escape from the surface of a black hole, scientists rely upon computer algorithms to study the massive dark objects.
Researchers in the Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation at RIT are using supercomputers on campus and across the country to simulate with mathematics and computer graphics what cannot be seen directly.

“It is a thrilling time to study black holes,” said Manuela Campanelli, center director.

“We’re nearing the point where our calculations will be used to test out one of the last unexplored aspects of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, possibly confirming that it properly describes the strongest gravitational fields in the universe,” she added.

RIT mathematics professors Campanelli, Carlos Lousto, Yosef Zlochower and Joshua Faber and computer science professor Hans-Peter Bischof study the evolution of black holes and other objects using large-scale supercomputers.

Their computer lab hosts “NewHorizons,” a cluster consisting of 85 nodes with four processors each, connected via an Infiniband network that passes data at 10-gigabyte-per-second speeds.
Scientists will use the open toolkit and cyberinfrastructure to model black holes, neutron stars and accretion disks.

RIT researchers Bischof, Campanelli, Faber, Lousto and Zlochower will work with their colleagues at Georgia Tech, Louisiana State University, Albert Einstein Institute and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to develop tools for understanding many of the most energetic events observed in astronomy, from millisecond-long bursts of gamma-rays to active galactic nuclei, that constantly emit more than a trillion Suns’ worth of energy.

“Computers are only going to get bigger and faster over the coming years,” said Campanelli.

ANI



First Published: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 - 16:23

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