A Japanese supercomputer is on a mission to find out how our universe went from nothing to everything in less than a microsecond

A Japanese supercomputer is on a mission to find out how our universe went from nothing to everything in less than a microsecond
Japan’s supercomputer ATERUI II is the world’s fastest supercomputer dedicated to astronomy simulations National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
  • Japan’s supercomputer called ATERUI II has created 4,000 simulated universes to solve the Big Bang.
  • The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) is trying to find out how the universe went from nothing to exploding to 1 trillion, trillion times in size in less than a trillionth of a trillionth of a microsecond.
  • The phenomenon of going from nothing to everything is what scientists call ‘inflation’ and it has huge impact on how galaxies are distributed throughout outer space.
The Big Bang is one of the biggest mysteries that humankind has been trying to solve for more than a century now. And now, Japan’s supercomputer ATERUI II — the world’s fastest supercomputer dedicated to astronomy simulations — is being put to the task.

Its job is to find out how the universe went from nothing to exploding to 1 trillion, trillion times in size in less than a trillionth of a trillionth of a microsecond, 13.8 billion years ago.
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The research team led by Masato Shirasaki — an assistant professor at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) — have used the supercomputer to create 4,000 simulated universes.

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“The method can shorten the observation time required to distinguish between various inflation theories,” said the press release.

The phenomenon of going from nothing to everything is what scientists call ‘inflation’ — the theory of how the universe expanded during its early days. This has a huge impact on how galaxies are distributed throughout outer space.

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What is the supercomputer trying to find out?
While inflation is one part of the equation, there are other facts that also affect galaxy distribution — like gravitationally driven growth. It can lead to fragmentation of gaseous structures in astrophysics and cosmology and other variations.

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So, Shirasaki and his colleagues evolved the 4,000 universes they had put together solely using gravitationally driven growth.

“This method can shorten the required observing time in upcoming galaxy survey missions such as SuMIRe by NAOJ's Subaru Telescope," said Shirasaki. “Using this method, we can verify inflation theories with roughly one-tenth the amount of data.”

What is cosmic inflation?
The idea of inflation was first put forward in the late 1970s. However, it was only in 2014 that scientists Alexei Starobinsky, Alan guth and Andrei Linde won the 2014 Kavli Prize for ‘pioneering the theory of cosmic inflation’.

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Come the 1980s, the theory was further developed to include how this inflation explains the origin of the universe’s large scale structure ( LSS). Instead of looking at individual galaxies or grouping of galaxies, LSS looks at the larger patterns of how galaxies and matter are spaced out in the never ending void of the universe.

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