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Supercomputer simulates neutron star-black hole SMACKDOWN

Datura will measure crashing waves of space-time

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A German supercomputer will simulate what happens when neutron stars collide with black holes.

The Datura supercomputer at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam, Germany, will be used by the Numerical Relativity Group at the Albert Einstein Institute there. They will search for the gravitational waves produced when black holes decelerate and collide with neutron stars.

The mighty computing beast has 200 clustered NEC LX-series servers with a total of 2,400 processors and 4.8TB of memory and is rated at 25.5 TFLOPS. It will enable researchers to run simulations two to three times faster and for longer than before.

Professor Luciano Rezzolla, the head of the Numerical Relativity Group, said: "By studying the behaviour of neutron stars and black holes for a longer period of time in our 'virtual laboratory' we expect to find new phenomena. Moreover we will be able to produce even more precise predictions for the characteristic forms of gravitational wave signals, because we can model the motion of these in-spiralling neutron stars and black holes for a longer period of time."

The boffins want to measure small waves of space-time resulting from the collisions of neutron stars or black holes, or by the core-collapse of a supernova. The numerical results derived from these events, as calculated with the new cluster, are important for their experiments, because they connect experiment to theory and so validate or disprove theoretical ideas.

NEC says the LX-series is different from its classical SX-series vector-computers, being based on standard components and Open-Source-software. It is specifically configured and customised by NEC for each individual project. ®

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