About the Center for Computational Astrophysics
Computer simulation, which enables researchers to explore phenomena that are difficult to reproduce in a laboratory setting, is now an integral part of astronomy research, providing a third way of studying astronomy, along with theory and observation. Simulation astronomy is about creating a virtual universe “in silico,” where astronomical events can be studied experimentally. In other words, a supercomputer acts as a powerful telescope in this discipline.
The Center for Computational Astrophysics (CfCA) has a range of high-performance computers, including GPU-accelerated computers and a Cray XC50 massively parallel supercomputer named “ATERUI II,” each of which helps astronomers around the world make new discoveries.
CfCA also works to develop new methods to perform simulations that have not been possible before. Perhaps in the near future, supercomputers may help us answer some of the greatest questions in astronomy, such as how our Milky Way Galaxy and Solar System formed and what black holes look like.
Simulated interactions between an astrophysical jet (blue) and interstellar clouds (orange) based on the principles of magnetohydrodynamics. The black lines represent magnetic field lines. This simulation shows the dense interstellar clouds accelerated by the propagating jet, revealing that the magnetic tension force on the interstellar clouds enhances the cloud acceleration.
Cray XC50 “ATERUI II”
ATERUI II is a supercomputer dedicated to astronomy. Full-scale operation started in June 2018.
GRAPE is a computer cluster dedicated to gravitational many-body problems to promote research about astronomy and related fields through large-scale theoretical simulations. It ended its operation in March, 2022.
Cray XC30 “ATERUI”
ATERUI was a supercomputer dedicated to astronomy erected at Mizusawa VLBI Observatory. It ended its operation in March, 2018.