Research in Computational Astrophysics

Sn-CalcComputational astrophysics at UCSC uses a variety of on-campus and off-campus resources. The primary on-campus supercomputer used by researchers in astrophysics, physics, and planetary science is UpsAnd, a 240-processor Beowulf cluster with gigabit interconnects that is benchmarked at 380 Gflops. A new, much faster 600-cpu beowulf cluster with 20 TB storage has been awarded by the NSF to the new Center for Computational Astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and will begin operation during the coming year. Large computational programs also use off campus resources, including particularly the major facilities of the UC labs: LBL, LLNL, and LANL. For example, UCSC researchers are among the largest users of Seaborg at the National Energy Research Supercomputing Center, currently ranked among the ten fastest in the world.

In the Astrophysics Department, substantial computational work is done in high energy astrophysics, planetary science, and cosmology, some of which is detailed elsewhere on this site.

In high energy astrophysics, the Supernova Science Center (SciDAC) is a UCSC, LLNL, LANL, and Arizona partnership (led by Stan Woosley) that seeks to understand through numerical computation how stars explode and how elements are formed. This group alone uses more than 3 million CPU hours per year.

Planet GapIn planetary science, radiation hydro codes are used by Doug Lin and collaborators to study the opening of gaps in protoplanetary gaseous disks around young stars, which can be compared with infrared observations. Others do sophisticated studies of the long-term dynamics of planetary orbits around distant stars.

In cosmology, Piero Madau and Joel Primack (Physics) both use simulation to study the formation of galaxies and clusters of galaxies, attempting to understand the very structures that their colleagues down the hall are uncovering in major surveys such as DEEP.

Astrophysics students have also worked closely with Gary Glatzmaier, in the Earth Sciences Department, who uses 3D anelastic hydro codes to study the origin of magnetic fields through dynamo action in the Earth, giant planets, and the Sun.

Research Centers

Research Groups

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