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Computational Astrophysics on the Array Processor Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131620D
Original Publication Date: 1983-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Document File: 17 page(s) / 61K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Rida T. Farouki: AUTHOR [+5]


Center for Radiophysics and Space Research, Cornell University

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Computational Astrophysics on the Array Processor

Rida T. Farouki, Stuart L. Shapiro, and Saul A. Teukolsky

Center for Radiophysics and Space Research, Cornell University

Modeling the dynamics of the universe is no small-scale problem and usually requires costly, off-site mainframes. Astrophysicists at Cornell, however, have found an economical, in-house alternative.

Soon after an early model of the Floating Point Systems AP-190L array processor arrived at Cornell in 1978, theoretical astrophysicists and researchers like ourselves joined physical scientists at the university who, together with Cornell Computer Services, were planning to finance and use the AP for large-scale scientific computing. The motivation for joining was clear: We needed a means to tackle several large-scale, nonlinear problems in computational astrophysics and general relativity and had a rather limited computing budget to work with. Without the AP we would have had to use computer facilities available only at the large national laboratories such as Livermore, Los Alamos, and NCAR. We felt that the AP-190L would enable us to tackle large-scale computer problems totally in house for the first time.

Since then we have used the AP to solve diverse problems in theoretical astrophysics and general relativity -- problems that encompass many different physical regimes and, naturally, require a variety of solutions. The problems examined thus far deal either with the dynamical structure and evolution of self-gravitating, large Nbody systems or with the spherical collapse of stars to black holes.

In the first category is the dynamical behavior of globular star clusters. Globular clusters consist of NO 106 stars bound in a single system and orbiting in their mutual gravitational potential. Also in this category is the dynamics of galaxies, which are bound systems of NO 10'2 stars, and clusters of galaxies, which consist of NO 103 galaxies in bound orbits about each other. All these objects are fundamental constituents of the physical universe and are described mathematically by Newton's equations of motion applied to classical, selfgravitating, many-body systems.

In the second category is the manner in which massive stars at the endpoint of stellar evolution undergo catastrophic gravitational collapse to black holes. Black holes thus formed are also believed to be fundamental constituents of the physical ~verse. Collapse to black holes can be followed by integrating Einstein's equations in general relativity for gaseous matter coupled to gravity.