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China's Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer simulates cosmos

A Chinese supercomputer has created the largest ever digital version of the cosmos.

Sunway TaihuLight, the world's fastest computer, has modelled the birth and early expansion of the universe using 10 trillion digital particles, a new report claims.

The supercomputer modelled these particles interacting with one another using quadrillions of calculations per second to model the cosmos.

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Sunway TaihuLight (pictured), the world's fastest computer, has modelled the birth and early expansion of the universe using 10 trillion digital particles, a new report claims

Sunway TaihuLight (pictured), the world's fastest computer, has modelled the birth and early expansion of the universe using 10 trillion digital particles, a new report claims

THE SIMULATION 

In astronomy, researchers simulate the universe by breaking down its mass into particles.

These particles interact with one another through physical forces such as gravity.

A supercomputer can simulate these interactions using quadrillions of calculations per second.

The more particles are involved in the simulation, the more precisely the scientists can replay and forecast the universe’s evolution.

This process can shed light on many issues such as the nature and spread of dark energy.

With a simulation comprising 10 trillion particles, the Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer created the largest ever model of the cosmos.

According to the South China Morning Post, the machine simulated the cosmos by breaking it's mass down into trillions of particles.

It used 10 million CPU cores to create its version of the universe - known as N-body simulation.

The work was completed by the National Supercomputer Centre in Wuxi, and involved computer scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. 

'This is just a warm-up exercise,' Professor Liang Gao, chair scientist of the computational cosmology group at the National Astronomical Observatories, said.

'We just got to the point of tens of millions of years after the Big Bang

'It was still a very young stage for the universe - most galaxies were not even born.'

Professor Gao said that the universe his team created is five times larger than any previous attempts.

But while China's simulation was sustained for an hour, a European model created in June, which was the previous biggest attempt, lasted for 80 hours.

Academics from the University of Zurich recreated a simulation of 25 billion virtual galaxies, which were generated from two trillion digital particles.

'The challenge of this simulation was to model galaxies as small as one tenth of

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