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Home Computers Help Researchers Better Understand Universe

Date:
October 26, 2007
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Want to help unravel the mysteries of the universe? A new distributed computing project allows people around the world to participate in cutting-edge cosmology research by donating their unused computing cycles.

Physics and astronomy professor Benjamin D. Wandelt's latest project allowspeople around the world to participate in cutting-edge cosmology research by donating their unused computing cycles.
Credit: Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

Want to help unravel the mysteries of the universe? A new distributed computing project designed by a University of Illinois researcher allows people around the world to participate in cutting-edge cosmology research by donating their unused computing cycles.

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The project is called Cosmology@Home, and is similar to SETI@Home, a popular program that searches radio telescope data for evidence of extraterrestrial transmissions.

"When you run Cosmology@Home on your computer, it uses part of the computer's processing power, disk space and network bandwidth," said project leader Benjamin D. Wandelt, a professor of astronomy and of physics at Illinois.

"Our goal is to search for cosmological models that describe our universe and agree with available astronomical and particle physics data," Wandelt said.

To achieve this goal, participating computers calculate the observable predictions of millions of theoretical models with different parameters. The predictions are then compared with actual data, including fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background, large-scale distributions of galaxies, and the acceleration of the universe.

In addition to picking out possible models, Cosmology@Home could help design future cosmological observations and prepare for the analysis of future data sets, such as those to be collected by the Planck spacecraft, Wandelt said.

Cosmology@Home is funded by the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Home Computers Help Researchers Better Understand Universe." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071024115244.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2007, October 26). Home Computers Help Researchers Better Understand Universe. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071024115244.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Home Computers Help Researchers Better Understand Universe." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071024115244.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

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