Deep space telescope peers back in time, HPC needed to make sense of it all

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Earlier this month Jonathan Sievers, of the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, presented early data from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope during HPCS2010

ACT pictureThe Atacama Cosmology Telescope is one of the largest telescopes of its kind, and the flood of data from this instrument in Chile in one day is the equivalent of a decade of data from an earlier satellite experiment. This requires the largest computers to make sense of it all — including SciNet’s GPC, the largest computer in Canada. “SciNet is essential for the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) project. The computer has enabled a new frontier in producing maps of the early universe, and is changing the way cosmologists make sense of the cosmos”, said Professor Lyman Page of Princeton.

The first results have already given cosmologists the first glimpse of the transition from a simple universe to one containing the more complicated structures seen today. As part of the investigation, the team has identified previously unknown clusters of galaxies and is following them up with optical observations to determine their distances and masses.