China’s Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer created the biggest simulation of the Universe so far

Sunway TaihuLight, the world’s fastest computer

JACK DONGARRA, SUNWAY TAIHULIGHT SYSTEM REPORT

China is already building a supercomputer that’s capable of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 calculations per second and hopes a prototype will be completed this year. Despite this computing prowess, the nation is trying to do more.

The country has already stated its ambitions to ensure it is a leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. It’s now created the largest digitally generated version of the Universe, a report claims.

According to the South China Morning Post, China has used the Sunway TaihuLight, the world’s most powerful supercomputer, to simulate “the birth and early expansion of the Universe” using 10 trillion digital particles.

The work has reportedly been completed by the National Supercomputer Centre in Wuxi, and involved computer scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. The supercomputer used 10 million CPU cores to create the universe – known as N-body simulation – and involved breaking the universe’s mass down into particles.

“This is just a warm-up exercise,” Gao Liang, 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”.

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Liang says the universe that was created is five times larger than the previous simulated attempts. However, China’s simulation was only sustained for an hour, whereas a European recreation of the universe, which was the previous biggest attempt, existed for 80 hours.

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