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A supercomputer made of idle CPUs rewinds stellar streams

4 Mar 2021, 15:00 UTC
A supercomputer made of idle CPUs rewinds stellar streams
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Title: An Algorithm for Reconstructing the Orphan Stream Progenitor with MilkyWay@home Volunteer ComputingAuthors: Siddhartha Shelton, Heidi Jo Newberg, Jake Weiss, Jacob S. Bauer, Matthew Arsenault, Larry Widrow, Clayton Rayment, Travis Desell, Roland Judd, Malik Magdon-Ismail, Eric Mendelsohn, Matthew Newby, Colin Rice, Boleslaw K. Szymanski, Jeffery M. Thompson, Carlos Varela, Benjamin Willett, Steve Ulin, and Lee NewbergFirst Author’s Institution: Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteStatus: available on Arxiv, planned submission to ApJS When I was fourteen, I read the Three-Body Problem and was fascinated by its description of alien civilizations. Although there were no astronomy classes offered in my middle school in China, I found SETI@home on the Internet and watched in amazement as my laptop calculated away, searching for extraterrestrial radio signals. SETI@home connects many idle computers through the Internet into one supercomputer for research use. Today’s paper is a pilot test for a similar distributed computing project on MilkyWay@Home. This project aims to measure how much dark matter dwarf galaxies contain. The immense gravity from our Milky Way galaxy can rip apart dwarf galaxies and stretch their stars into long thin streams. From the distribution of stars in currently observed streams, astronomers can backtrack the properties of the progenitor dwarf galaxy before ...

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