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Space Science

Simulations Predict Where We Can Find Dark Matter 61

p1234 writes with this excerpt from the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics: "Simulations by the Virgo team show how the Milky Way's halo grew through a series of violent collisions and mergers from millions of much smaller clumps that emerged from the Big Bang. ... If Fermi does detect the predicted emission from the Milky Way's smooth inner halo, then it may, if we are lucky, also see gamma-rays from small (and otherwise invisible) clumps of dark matter which happen to lie particularly close to the Sun. ... The largest simulation took 3.5 million processor hours to complete. Volker Springel was responsible for shepherding the calculation through the machine and said: 'At times I thought it would never finish.' Max Planck Director, Professor Simon White, remarked that 'These calculations finally allow us to see what the dark matter distribution should look like near the Sun where we might stand a chance of detecting it.'" We discussed a related simulation a few months ago.
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Simulations Predict Where We Can Find Dark Matter

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  • by kesuki ( 321456 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @03:18AM (#25685921) Journal

    "I wonder if dark matter to them is like a Ubuntu release to most of us?"

    Maybe, the answer is difficult, it's much like Schroedinger's cat.

    until it's observed you cannot tell if it is there or not.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 08, 2008 @03:26AM (#25685943)

    Instead of a gamma-ray glow map as seen from the Sun, I'd like to see 3d renderings of a whole galaxy where they artificially color dark matter to show where it is.

  • Hmmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AlphaLop ( 930759 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @04:17AM (#25686099)
    Sounds like with that many computer hours needed they should set up something similar to Seti@home
  • by wjh31 ( 1372867 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @05:53AM (#25686343) Homepage
    that sounds a pretty useless measurement

    my mid range processor does about 0.5GFLOPS, which means those available on the market probably range from about 0.1-2GFLOPS give or take, and then theres graphics processors, which are capable of TFLOPS these days, so there could be a factor of about 10^4 in the number of FLOP's done, i know that astrophysics often has order of magnitude calculations, but that's just a bit useless
  • by arminw ( 717974 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @11:39AM (#25687601)

    ....where they should be able to detect gamma rays caused by dark matter...

    This assumes that dark matter generates gamma rays, a form of electromagnetic radiation. Has anybody ever scientifically demonstrated that it is possible to generate such electromagnetic radiation by means OTHER than moving electrical charges? If they do detect such gamma radiation, how will they ascertain that this radiation is NOT caused by an electrical phenomena rather than some unknown action of undiscovered dark matter?

    Anytime the underlying assumptions of a computer input or algorithm are faulty, even the 3 1/2 million hours of computation on a supercomputer will not lead to the discovery of the scientific truth. The principle of garbage in garbage out still applies. The bottom line is simple: the dark matter emperor is as naked as a newborn.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken