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Scientists Unveil Most Accurate Virtual Representation of the Universe

Scientists have produced the most significant and most accurate Virtual representation of the universe to date. An international team of researchers, led by the University of Helsinki, including members from Durham University, in the U.K., used supercomputer simulations to recreate the entire evolution of the cosmos, from the Big Bang to the present. The findings are published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The simulation, named SIBELIUS-DARK, is part of the Simulations Beyond the Local universe (SIBELIUS) project and is the largest and most comprehensive constrained realization simulation to date. The team meticulously compared the Virtual universe to a series of observational surveys to find the correct locations and properties for the Virtual analogies of the familiar structures.

It was found that our local patch of the universe may be somewhat unusual as the simulation predicted a lower number of galaxies on average due to a local large-scale ‘under density’ of matter. While the level of this under-density is not considered a challenge to the standard model of cosmology, it could have consequences for how we interpret information from observed galaxy surveys.

The simulation covers a volume of up to 600 million lightyears from Earth. It is represented by over 130 billion simulated particles, requiring thousands of computers working in tandem over several weeks and producing large amounts of data. The simulation was performed on the DiRAC COSmology MAchine (COSMA) operated by the Institute for Computational Cosmology at Durham University.

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