This Week at Physics

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Event Number 3303

  Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Astronomy Colloquium
"Scaling Computational Astrophysics"
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall
Speaker: Matthew Turk, Columbia University
Abstract: The term "Big Data" means different things to different people; often it's used to describe unstructured or semi-structured records, or fast-moving data that has to be processed quickly to be of any use, or just a huge volume of data that stretches the limits of many computing systems. In this talk, I will present how simulation and analysis have attempted to respond to the challenges of "big data" not as a goal in and of itself, but as a by-product of trying to use increasingly rich simulation data to study complex physical processes.
I will describe new avenues in understanding how the first stars in the universe formed, the simulation platform Enzo (enzo-project.org)that enables us to study these objects, and where furthering our understanding requires advancing the state of the art in hydrodynamic studies. I will present the analysis and visualization platform yt(yt-project.org), and its aim to provide a lingua franca for astrophysical phenomena, empowering individuals to ask complex and detailed questions of data. Finally, I will discuss the communities that have grown around these platforms, how retaining a focus on self-directed scientific inquiry has allowed collaboration to flourish between researchers, and why collaboration and community is the next great scaling challenge for computational astrophysics.
Host: Prof Richard Townsend
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