The gravitational billion body problem
Promotor: Prof.dr. S. Portegies Zwart
- J. Bédorf
- 02 September 2014
- Thesis in Leiden Repository
The increased availability of accelerator technology in modern supercomputers forces users to redesign their algorithms. These accelerators are specifically designed to offer huge amounts of parallel compute power. In this thesis I show how to harness the power of these parallel processors for astrophysical simulations. I start with an introduction that presents the developments in astrophysical algorithms and used hardware since the 1960’s till today. In the following scientific chapters I discuss the use of GPU accelerator technology for direct N-body methods and for the more advanced hierarchical algorithms. These advanced algorithms are more complex to implement on large parallel architectures, but by redesigning the algorithms it is possible to take advantage of the GPU. The developed algorithms are applied to simulate galaxy mergers to explain discrepancies in observational results. In the simulations we test different merger configurations and try to match the results with observational data. The final chapter shows how to scale the developed software code to thousands of GPUs as available in the Titan supercomputer. The in this thesis developed and presented algorithms allow astronomers to take advantage of the new GPU technology and thereby run simulations that contain thousand times more particles than was possible before.