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To the Extreme

3 Aug 2009, 17:15 UTC
To the Extreme
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Via io9 and New Scientist, scientists at Chicago's Argonne National Laboratory are wowing the blogosphere with some pretty breath-taking computer simulations of the extreme physics taking place inside a supernova as it goes critical. (You can read my previous posts on supernova physics here and here for a bit of background.) This is some serious space porn, people. Check out this gorgeous opening image, in which the differing energy values in the star's core are color-coded, so that scientists can peel away the outer layers to sneak a peek at what is happening in the star's interior: The simulations were done using the IBM Blue Gene/P Supercomputer, named in 2008 as the fastest supercomputer in the world used for open scientific research. Just how fast is the Blue Gene? I could dazzle you with tales of teraflops, but all you really need to know is this: the Blue Gene can perform 557 trillion calculations per second. That gives it the potential to help make revolutionary advances in all kinds of scientific fields, not just astrophysics, but molecular structure, genetics, and simulations of materials and designs for nuclear energy plants.Here's a simulated snapshot of a Type Ia supernova seconds after the ...

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