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Next generation

Super-size simulation

Chicago’s Center for Astrophysical Thermonuclear Flashes (Flash Center) has launched the world’s most advanced supercomputer simulation of a supernova, or exploding star. Covering sweeping scales of space and time, the simulation demands considerable computing power. To that end the Energy Department has given 2.7 million processing hours for the project—about 440 percent more than the Flash Center typically uses in a year.

Supernovae, whose extreme brightness makes them a marker for measuring distance in the universe, produce heavy elements, including gold, platinum, and uranium. Scientists at the Flash Center plan to chart those elements and thus the sequence of events leading up to detonation.—M.L.

image:  next generation
Courtesy Tomasz Plewa


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