Computer simulations and theoretical understanding have now reached a stage where it is possible to compute the cosmic microwave background and the large scale distribution of galaxies with considerable precision, and simulations are becoming increasingly able to tackle the complexity of galaxy formation and evolution. This talk will describe in particular the Bolshoi simulations, which are currently the most accurate simulations of cosmological large scale structure, and compare their predictions with observations. The new Bolshoi-Planck simulation has the same high resolution as the original Bolshoi-WMAP simulation, but with the new Planck cosmological parameters. The talk will also review the successes and challenges of high-resolution hydrodynamic galaxy simulations; and it will describe the new Assembling Galaxies of Resolved Anatomy (AGORA) program to run such simulations using as much as possible the same initial conditions, physical assumptions, and output analysis procedures. AGORA will systematically compare a wide variety of computer codes with each other and with observations, and thus improve understanding of galaxy formation. Finally, the talk will discuss in the context of astrophysics the high-performance computation challenges of big data and increasingly inhomogeneous computer architecture.
Some relevant references: Bolshoi simulations: http://hipacc.ucsc.edu/Bolshoi
Article "The Cosmological Supercomputer" by Primack in IEEE Spectrum Oct 2012:
http://spectrum.ieee.org/aerospace/astrophysics/the-cosmological-supercomputer AGORA project: http://www.agorasimulations.org/