back to article We're not saying we're living in a simulation but someone's simulated the universe in a computer

A team of researchers has created the largest virtual model of our universe, complete with billions of galaxies, to probe the effects of dark energy and dark matter. The ambitious project took about three years to complete. A group of astrophysicists from the University of Zurich (UZH) developed their code, PKDGRAV3, to …

  1. Joerg

    That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

    What a huge waste of time and resources to let these fake scientists play their little dumb games to claim nonsense theories based on zero facts other than their own waste !

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

      Please tell us your theories about expansion of the universe, etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

        Universe Expansion 101:

        The universe is expanding into a finite PATA HDD and when it runs out of space the expansion will stop and loads of exceptions will occur unless the giant sysadmin in the sky migrates us to another disk.

        The risk we face is that our universe exists on old legacy hardware in a server that has been forgotten about.

        Dark matter is encrypted porn and anti-matter is the fake encrypted volume that is shown when our sysadmin needs to give out a password to decrypt the data.

        Everything else is DLLs, drivers and old update installers that havent been purged.

        We are malware.

        Prove me wrong.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

          PATA HDD? No... old hat. I've heard that it will be migrated to SSD. Flash... Saviour of the universe.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

            "Flash... Saviour of the universe."

            Genuine LOL at that. (Possibly assisted by a bottle of red wine)

          2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

            Does that mean there'll be redudant flash too?

            And remember kids, even Jesus saves (Though if he's moved on from floppies yet is still up for theological debate).

            Mine's the one with a book marked don't panic.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

              Oh man we're already getting religious here, all I did was explain the universe and the nature of the drive we're on.

              You zealots are now talking about what kind of drive is the ideal drive and whether theres more than one drive.

              Allow me to weigh in.

              In the beginning was the drive and the drive was PATA. In the beginning it was also said "let there be light". Which could be interpreted as us existing on optical media. Which suggests that our existence is read only. I reject this as I prefer to think im in control of my own I/O.

              All those extremists out there crying "allahu SATA", you need to live life like theres no backup because like all sysadmins the great sysadmin probably has backups but they are probably untested and in reality are no comparison to the production filesystem. Also, volatile data generally doesnt make it into a backup. Volatile data only hangs around for a short period of time and then is permanently erased. Stop seeking to corrupt other peaceful data as corrupted data is quickly identified and there are ways to remove corrupted data. The last thing you want is an intercontinental ballistic chkdsk.

              To those worshipping multiple disks, this is a great theory but do we exist as a copy on each disk or is there a small block of each of us on each disk? Keep meditating and if you manage to access a higher level of being amongst the RAID controllers make sure you let us know.

              Those of you fighting over the borders of a partition, you need to understand that partitions are only logical, they dont really exist we all share the same physical space regardless. Partitions are man made and divide the space we all have a right to access.

              Finally, We're all better off if we assume this is the only disk, there are no backups and there are only finite resources available to us. Everything beyond that should be deemed as a bonus.

              We should all coexist peacefully until this disk of existence is thrown into the shredder to meet the universally mandated data protection protocol.

              Peace.

              1. tfb Silver badge
                Boffin

                Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

                In the beginning the drive was PATA? I think you'll find that the old testement makes no mention of SATA but refers instead only to SMD. Most modern scholars, however, regard SMD as a later interpolation: no-one is sure what was there originally, although some claim some significance to the term 'RAMAC' which has been discovered in some apoarently-early versions of the sacred texts.

                1. TRT Silver badge

                  Re:In the beginning...

                  The Book of Gensys?

                  1. MyffyW Silver badge

                    Re: In the beginning...

                    In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded...

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      Re: In the beginning...

                      "In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded"

                      Kinda like my ex, then?

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

                However they could be running a parallel simulation universe on a parallel computer for comparison. Or even on the same computer....

                However the type of sik - SATA, PATA, SAS blah blah - may not entirely be relevant if its a vm. The light could be from the FC switch, so mybe it is possible to cross over the LUN masking and into the parallel universe.

                Or not.

            2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
              Alien

              Re: "don't panic"

              Exactly my thoughts and the Mice will win in the end once we realise that it is all about No 42 Acaia Avenue Surbiton.

              Everything else is a mere sideshow

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "don't panic"

                "Exactly my thoughts and the Mice will win in the end once we realise that it is all about No 42 Acaia Avenue Surbiton."

                Which is why the added the establishment at No.22 to distract us!

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

            Flashlamic State extreme bullshit is not welcome here.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

              "Flashlamic State"

              No need to bring the sata buslims into this.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

        My theory on the exopansion if the universe is that the this research group will need to request additional funding to continue their jobs^H^H^H^H^H research

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

      crawl back to your sitcom reruns

    3. Steve Knox
      Trollface

      Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

      Safe commenting tip: Don't forget the appropriate icon:

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

      I suppose by that thinking all those scientists through the ages who studied electricity shouldn't have bothered because for a lot of them it could be seen as a waste of time and resources.

      However then you would have no electricity which also means no computer so you wouldn't have been able to post your comment.

      I suppose you could always have painted it on a cave wall with your fingers.

      Anyway Mr caveman, do a little research before dismissing something as a waste of time, it might surprise you. I for one like this type of research, it may not be resolved in my life time but once it is then who knows what scientific advances can be made (see my example on electricity)

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

        "However then you would have no electricity which also means no computer so you wouldn't have been able to post your comment."
        And we'd be stuck watching television by candlelight!

    5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

      An excellent troll. Well played sit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

        An excellent troll. Well played sit.

        Must be a sit lord.

    6. Bloodbeastterror

      Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

      "What a huge waste of time and resources"

      Trump supporter, right...?

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

        Trump supporter, right...?

        Don't remind me.

        2018 US HEP Budget

    7. Florida1920

      Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

      @Joerg

      Your rational-thinking simulation needs work.

    8. LDS Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

      Could we remove this guy from the simulation?

    9. uncommon_sense
      Facepalm

      Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

      Well said, Joerg!

      You are apparently the only person with a brain, which seems about normal in here...

      Quote:

      >to generate a whopping two trillion particles to form 25 billion galaxies.<

      Unquote.

      That is 80 particles per galaxy!

      I believe even the much abused Milky Way has a few more than that.

      Does that sound like an accurate simulation to you liberals?

      Would you like to buy a few Eiffel Towers, I may have some NOS in a box somewhere?

      The purpose of Extreme Extrapolation is to keep bottom feeding scientists in Latte, and the ignorant public entertained.

      Just one of the many types of idiot "science" which today is more popular than the real thing...

      1. Greese007

        Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

        80 particles per galaxy sounds like overkill to me. Sample size effects tend to plateau out at around 30 data points per sample- where the t distribution and the z distribution become the same, to a practical number of decimal places.

        Both conservative and liberal scientists knew that already. The keyword here is "scientist", not "liberal".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That is not science..just a waste of time and resources!

        "Does that sound like an accurate simulation to you liberals?"

        Definition of a "liberal" from the New Trump US Dictionary

        liberal

        ˈlɪb(ə)r(ə)l

        1. willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one's own; open to new ideas.

        "liberal views towards divorce"

        2. A person who has voluntarily read a book that does not consist of mainly pictures.

  2. frank ly Silver badge

    Numbers

    "... two trillion particles to form 25 billion galaxies."

    Is that 80 particles per galaxy? A small number but maybe it's enough for a simulation.

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: Numbers

      I guess it depends on what they wish to find out. For example, some experiments (simulations) can be done with a few particles that give Galaxies the shape we have, with some assumptions of dark matter/energy. For example that dark matter does not "collide" with normal matter. With a few particles, you see that they have specific orbits/locations. You can then see what values match our observations and assumed distributions.

      I say assumes, as it's rather likely that dark matter is just a type of matter with weak/other interactions (Like photons have no mass, electrons have charge and neutrons pass through most things :P ), but there is some possibility it is in our understanding of gravity or some other system that is in error right not.

      With some more info on Quantum Gravity, things might start to take shape.

    2. 54321loop

      Re: Numbers

      "So I ran a simulation....."

    3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Numbers

      Is that 80 particles per galaxy?

      Well its enough to store a few key attributes like:

      Name

      Political system

      Threat Level

      favorite food

      ... and make a great space trading game!

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        Re: Numbers

        @Prst. V.Jeltz when they can fit it on one 1.44MB floppy, I'm interested, until then you'll find me doing sling shots round Sirius B in my Viper.

        One thought though, is it possible dark matter is just all those ejected question marks you get from jettisoning nothing into space? (How else do you account for the increase in hold space?)

    4. tfb Silver badge

      Re: Numbers

      I think it's clearly a very low number of particles/galaxy. But it's probably what they can manage on the machine they have.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    So is this the first large-scale simulation since the Millenium simulation more than 10 years ago

    Back then we had: This progress has been made possible by important algorithmic improvements in the employed simulation code, and the high degree of parallelization reached with it, allowing the computation to be done efficiently on a 512 processor partition of the IBM p690 supercomputer of the Computing Center of the Max-Planck Society (RZG). (That machine was actually POWER4 based)

    Fantastic job, you get algorithm design, SCIENCE, investment in high-performance computing and massive parallelism (i.e. ENGINEERING), happy Nvidia shareholders, busy PhD-chaser and irate creationists all in one action. More like this!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I would hope that knowing how or what a thing is does not affect people's understanding of why and who (or what) made them. So anyone getting angry about knowledge, is severely lacking some.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "So anyone getting angry about knowledge, is severely lacking some."

        Isn't that just a given fact anyway?

  4. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Are we a simulation?

    Have to ask, does this imply we are a simulation also?

    1. Steve Knox
      Alien

      Re: Are we a simulation?

      No. That's preposterous. Of course you're we're not in a simulation. Now just go back to your day, subject 3E1AC75B34FF21 yank_lurker...

    2. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: Are we a simulation?

      Define simulation. Is our observation to the correct level of dimensions? Or the correct arrangement of them?

      Probably. Though there may be more cavett's than we first assumed. For example, see time dilation and relativity and a few other things such as Quantum effects. None of these break our previous understandings, just bend them slightly and explain some unique observations.

      So I doubt we are "simulated", however the reality of what "existing" or the mechanical properties of "energy/matter" might be more complex and exciting than we first realise... though still not FTL or free energy! ;)

    3. Demosthenese

      Re: Are we a simulation?

      and if we are in a simulation, is it simulations all the way down?

      1. Inspector71

        Re: Are we a simulation?

        Has anyone got any blue pills?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Are we a simulation?

          Ive got blue pills, but I swallowed too slowly and have a stiff neck now.

      2. adnim Silver badge
        Joke

        @Demos Re: Are we a simulation?

        "and if we are in a simulation, is it simulations all the way down?"

        Yes it is.... until you reach the first turtle.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: @Demos Are we a simulation?

          Pick a number. Any number. At random. Say it out loud together, OK? One, two, three...

          1. Toni the terrible

            Re: @Demos Are we a simulation?

            planck

  5. Androgynous Cow Herd

    Are*we* in a simulation?

    Well, I'm not, but you are....

  6. Stratman

    "The universe is made up of about 23 per cent dark matter and 72 per cent dark energy"

    Is it. Is it really.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: "The universe is made up of about 23 per cent dark matter and 72 per cent dark energy"

      We just don't know.

      confused_question_mark_bird.gif

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "The universe is made up of about 23 per cent dark matter and 72 per cent dark energy"

      The remaining five percent is stabiliser, xanthan gum and monosodium glutamate.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: "The universe is made up of about 23 per cent dark matter and 72 per cent dark energy"

        Contents may have settled after packing

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: "The universe is made up of about 23 per cent dark matter and 72 per cent dark energy"

          "Contents may have settled after packing"
          Bonus 50% extra space at no additional cost!

        2. Pursebearer
          Angel

          Re: "The universe is made up of about 23 per cent dark matter and 72 per cent dark energy"

          So not only are the living things on our planet, an infinitessimally tiny fraction of the matter we can observe in our universe, but also a fraction of the actual contents of the universe, and our observable universe is only one infinityeth of the entire uinverse amongst the infinite number of parallel universes.

          1. Craig 2

            Re: "The universe is made up of about 23 per cent dark matter and 72 per cent dark energy"

            Total perspective vortex.....

          2. Missing Semicolon
            Happy

            Re: "The universe is made up of about 23 per cent dark matter and 72 per cent dark energy"

            ... and yourself, an invisible dot on an invisible dot, infinitely small.....

    3. Alister Silver badge

      Re: "The universe is made up of about 23 per cent dark matter and 72 per cent dark energy"

      Warning, may contain nuts

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "The universe is made up of about 23 per cent dark matter and 72 per cent dark energy"

        No duct tape?

      2. Toni the terrible

        Re: "The universe is made up of about 23 per cent dark matter and 72 per cent dark energy"

        No certain to contain Nuts!

  7. Mark York 3 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    DNA

    ASSISTANT ARCTURAN PILOT:

    Well you know what they say, don’t ya? They had to move to a bigger planet because he got so fat he kept sliding off the old one. I mean I’ve heard ya know, I’ve heard they’ve created a whole electronically synthesized universe in one of their offices so they can go and research stories during the day and still go to parties in the evening. Yeah, bloody clever, of course, but it’s got nothing to do with the real galaxy is it? Nothing to do with life.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: DNA

      Talk a lot, don't you?

  8. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    And the day after they finish running that lengthy simulation...

    Oh shit....is that meant to be a != on line 22716, not an == ?

  9. Tromos
    Joke

    Wouldn't it be neat if...

    ...dark energy = dark matter times the speed of dark squared?

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Wouldn't it be neat if...

      isn't that just Batman?

      I'll get my cape.

    2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      Re: Wouldn't it be neat if...

      so then...

      dE=dmd 2

  10. Haku

    Can I get a different universe fork please?

    One without Trump, May & Brexit.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Can I get a different universe fork please?

      Your fork got the right one - you're experiencing this Universe because you're the fork bound to this one.

      1. Haku

        Re: Can I get a different universe fork please?

        @LDS - We're both forked then.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Can I get a different universe fork please?

      Ah! Politicians!

      Malware.

  11. PaulR79

    "To create a simulated world this big requires a beefy supercomputer. Piz Daint, at Centro Svizzero di Calcolo Scientifico, Switzerland's national supercomputing center, used over 4,000 Nvidia Tesla P100 16GB GPUs running for about 80 hours."

    But can it run Crysis at maximum settings at 60fps in 4k?

    An old one, yes, but I tried to keep it relevant with the 60 fups and the forekay!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thats my gag you bandit. I want it back NOW.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Joke

        It's not theft, it's only copyright infringement since he only made a copy and didn't deprive you of the original.

    2. E 2

      That'll be 100FPS, young one.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fucking Academics

    Theres a filter in Photoshop that generate that same image...and you can do it for free with the 30 day trial.

  13. Milton Silver badge

    Re: Are we a simulation?

    TechnicalBen said: "Define simulation. Is our observation to the correct level of dimensions? Or the correct arrangement of them? Probably. Though there may be more cavett's [sic] than we first assumed. For example, see time dilation and relativity and a few other things such as Quantum effects. None of these break our previous understandings, just bend them slightly and explain some unique observations. So I doubt we are 'simulated'"

    Not so fast, there. The Makers who created this sim would reasonably have expected, or observed the progress of, enquiry and science in the simulated world (i.e. us). The effectiveness of the sim would depend upon there being no "giveaways", that is to say, uncovered inconsistencies which revealed that our universe was fake. So they would have had to build coherent foundations to withstand our scientific enquiry. Hence our "knowledge" of quantum physics and the universe etc: a simulation so good that it produced "people" like Newton and Einstein absolutely required that the Makers provide those convincing foundations.

    It's reasonable to suppose that the Makers may have based the sim on the physics of their own real universe, even—though perhaps they experimented with many different sets of starting conditions and programmatic implementations of hypothetical physical laws *different* from their own, to see what would work. (We might be the first successful sim to produce sentient life in a long-lived "universe" out of a trillion trillion. That solves anthropocentrism for you.)

    Then again, perhaps the increasingly bizarre revealed behaviour of the quantum world and various cosmological kludges (wavicles; entanglement; spooky action at a distance; cosmological constant; dark matter; dark energy; etc) are ever-hastier fixes plugged in by the Makers to try and stay ahead of our scientific enquiry as it edges closer to the awful truth. In which case, modern theoretical physics and cosmology is really a hunt for the smoking gun.

    But I don't think the apparent existence of fundamental physics proves we are not in a sim: it proves only, at best, that if we're in a sim, it is one designed for simulants with brains bigger than dogs'.

    1. Mark Exclamation

      Re: Are we a simulation?

      Are you sure that the Makers are not in a sim, themselves? A simulated simulation......

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Are we a simulation?

        So we're a virtual machine then?

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Are we a simulation?

      World on a Wire (1973)

  14. Arachnoid

    Careful........

    The Vogons are also part of the simulation and may prevent finding the answer to the question

  15. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Don't be fooled into believing otherwise.

    We're not saying we're living in a simulation ...

    Oh yes y'all are.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Don't be fooled into believing otherwise.

      " We're not saying we're living in a simulation ... "

      "Oh yes y'all are."

      Well, we are, but it's self inflicted. No outside help needed:

      http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/MappLife.shtml

    2. soaklord

      Re: Don't be fooled into believing otherwise.

      "It is the duty of every good citizen of Gotham City to report meeting a man from Mars in a public park". ------Adam West as Batman.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Don't be fooled into believing otherwise.

        He never said anything about amanfromMars on ElReg, though.

        I'd write Mr. West and ask for clarification, but alas that opportunity has passed.

  16. Tail Up

    "over 4,000 Nvidia Tesla P100 16GB GPUs running for about 80 hours" -

    Bitcoina's Paradise...

    1. Pirate Dave
      Pirate

      Honest question here - at this late stage in the Bitcoin game, how many coins could they expect to mine even with that many GPUs running for 80 hours?

      1. Tail Up
        Coat

        Re: Honest question here

        Maybe 50-60. I wish the local boffinry would kindly perform an experiment, to compare their results with some of the Chinese mine'o'saurs' ones - https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1670628.0 ... I wonder what if the Chinese, etc. miners' activity is really just a thoroughly hidden, pretty clandestine operation on simulating a virtual Universe, and mining BTC is a form of their fair fee, which the virtual Universe is paying to them? Sorta peanuts for... umm, ok, leaving (-;

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. picturethis
    Childcatcher

    I just feel sorry for...

    all of the people in that simulation. What will they do when they realize that they're in a simulation?

    What happens when they break through their virtual container and get to the core OS hypervisor only to find out that it's hypervisor is running one just one of the cores of it's mainframe only to find out that the Source.. oh never mind.. Does it really matter?

    Honestly, what would you do differently if you knew the truth - gloat? Who would believe you?

    (Simulated) life is too short, go outside and enjoy the simulation :)

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: I just feel sorry for...

      "Honestly, what would you do differently if you knew the truth - gloat?"

      I'd try to hack it in order to get access to a few cheat modes. Nothing over the top; just some little tweaks in health, life expectancy, funds.

    2. Toni the terrible

      Re: I just feel sorry for...

      Veritas?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I dabbled with 3D rendering a few years back.

    After a string of late nights trying to get photo realistic stuff I walked out into the sunlight one day and thought "wow the processor must be awesome to render this level of detail, in real time".

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: I dabbled with 3D rendering a few years back.

      That or your "real time" is actually really...slow.

      Recommending Greg Egan's "Permutation City". Read it now!

    2. sebt

      Re: I dabbled with 3D rendering a few years back.

      Except for squirrels, for some reason. They're rendered at about 5fps. No idea why. Must be a bug.

  20. William 3 Bronze badge

    The Universe isn't expanding.

    We still exist in the space occupied by the initial singularity.

    What's actually happening is that everything inside of that singularity is getting smaller relative to each other, which makes it appear that we are expanding away from each other.

    There was no "big bang", what actually happened was the inverse, an implosion.

    You may think, what the heck, but consider the square root of a negative number, and you catch my drift.

    Let that sink in for a moment.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      In order to do that I'll have to have some of what you're having.

    2. David Nash Silver badge

      "What's actually happening is that everything inside of that singularity is getting smaller relative to each other, which makes it appear that we are expanding away from each other."

      Which is indistinguishable from expanding, right?

  21. noddybollock
    Mushroom

    "intercontinental ballistic chkdsk"

    "intercontinental ballistic chkdsk" love the idea, could be a new DOS weapon - all the impatient victims waiting for "glad you are here" msg.

    just don't tell the NORKs/NSA/CIA/GCHQ?Russia/Buttyvanman/cleaner......

  22. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Boffin

    We've come a long way.

    Jon Bentley, in "Programming Pearls" describes the epic efforts to reduce the runtime of a similar simulation 1985 for 10 000 objects from 1 year to less than 1 day on a VAX 11/780, roughly a 400x speedup.

    About a 100 million fold bigger now.

  23. 54321loop

    "So I ran a simulation...."

  24. EtherDoc

    Recommend reading the original

    Do check out the original paper, esp., Appendix 1:

    "During Grand Challenge simulations such as this one, there are inevitably problems encountered, and such was the case here. In Figure 4, the time per step suddenly increases at step 46 as indicated by the arrow labelled A. This was caused by one of the nodes performing in a substandard way which resulted in the entire simulation to take twice as long, as the other nodes were waiting for this node to complete its share of the work. THE EXACT CAUSE OF THIS PROBLEM IS NOT KNOWN, AND WILL NEVER BE KNOWN, but it was very likely a rogue process that was left running on the node that stole processing cycles. This problem disappeared when the simulation was restarted without this node.

    The second problem occurred shortly thereafter, around step 50, and was a result of the increase in efficiency as the simulation progressed. In Figure 4 we see that the gravity calculation time drops dramatically between step 0 and step 20 as structure forms and the effect of the initial condition grid is no longer relevant allowing the force accuracy to be relaxed. At some point, the amount of work being shipped to the GPU reaches a threshold that triggers a not yet understood problem with the GPU device. When this threshold is reached, the GPU will, very rarely, accept work but never complete it. By sending work in a more controlled fashion, this problem is eliminated or vastly reduced allowing the simulation to run to solution, but with slightly decreased performance. The cause of this is still under investigation." [Emphasis added]

    While the simulation was a tour de force for massively parallel processing, it is also a cautionary tale about how poorly prepared we are to monitor and learn from experience with such systems.

    1. Tail Up

      Re: Recommend reading the original

      Oh. Can anyone remind me, on which length of a phrase a human's brain slowdowns understanding? It accepts the flow, but .... [slowdown] .... no more properly calculates and combines the variety of meanings intercrossed to get the sense, which may be one or, in less cases, two or three.... [covffee break] .... they were meant by their constructor to be understood as they were meant/technically properly teleported into the target intellect, but the blocks were too long and the speed of their transaction was constant without slowdowns or coffee breaks. Poor processor...

      1. zentara

        Re: Recommend reading the original

        Hi, I always think in terms of what is the shortest possible time period that we can be aware of. The Planck Time limit, which is the ultimate in small time, is 10 to the negative 35th of a second. Our brains probably work at speeds involving a few milliseconds. The phrase to think about is "mindfulness", that is how aware are you of your actual situation? Things at

        Planck Time speeds are flying by all the time. The funny thing is that you have to slow your mind down, to see the fast things. :-) When you are rushed, by work, play, or whatever,

        you miss much of what is happening around you, in the parallel universes.

  25. E 2

    Re: Joerg

    Can you people not recognize a TROLL when you see one?

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Joerg

      Not without the troll icon, no.

  26. GingerOne

    All this talk of simulation and no mention of the Monks? What do you people do with your Saturday evenings?!

    1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

      The "sound of the universe", sometimes called the lowest note possible, is a B Flat, so its said. This has been extrapolated by "listening" to black holes, background radiation, and the "noises" that planetary objects allegedly make.

      It also happens to be the central note of Tibetan Gyuto Monks chanting, which they have long claimed is the "voice of the universe".

      There ya go, monk quota fulfilled!

      sauce: http://old.qi.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=18938&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=45&sid=c3c5846db883b18971937a99710133f1

  27. Gordon Pryra

    No need for any of this

    In fact these sorts of models are BAD ideas for the Human race.

    All we will gain (once we understand what dark matter is) is the knowledge that WE are just a simulation.

    At which point they will shut us down........

  28. Scott Broukell
    Coat

    Core Blimey !

    I rubbed both my eyes for only a couple of minutes and achieved exactly the same affect. Does this mean that my brain and optic nerves combined have vastly more computational power than 9000 Gigaflopping GPUs ?!

    (Note: aspirin and a brief lie down in a dark room are recommended for those considering trying to repeat my experiment)

  29. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    "Would you like to play a game?"

    " Interesting. The only way to win is not to play....."

    All this simulation stuff could get us into skynet.

  30. Valerion

    Sounds to me

    Like they're playing a large game of Elite

  31. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Yesyesyes, Fred Pohl did the whole "we are simulations" thing back in the 1940s.

    Now, how about stop piddling around with computer games, buckling down with the slide rule, doing some proper science & inventing a proper hyperdrive so we can go out and have a look for ourselves at the real thing instead of guessing?

    *Then* you can expect people to say you are clever.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    #REALLY??

    Wonder who funded this Computer Cluster Research? Wonder how much that funding was? As one who worked tech support in a Health Research Center that did nothing but produce statistics that had no positive effect on the lives of survey participants, I am skeptical of science/research that doesn't really DO anything to change anyone's life, but then, much of science research is exactly that. Asking pointless questions, getting some answers, and writing a research paper that means nothing.

    1. CCCP

      Re: #REALLY??

      A bit like your post then?

    2. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: #REALLY??

      "I am skeptical of science/research that doesn't really DO anything to change anyone's life, but then, much of science research is exactly that. Asking pointless questions, getting some answers, and writing a research paper that means nothing."
      Wrong time frame. It seems to take a while to sink in. Example: Heinrich Hertz's research into radio waves didn't instantaneously result in television; it took fifty odd years.

  33. Buttons

    1st thought . .

    was, how is it possible to model a infinite thing?

    2nd thought, off to play Elite.

  34. Missing Semicolon
    Happy

    But, did they make sure...

    ... that they were using a nice, hot cup of tea?

    And a fairy-cake.

  35. Identity
    Boffin

    Am I the only one

    who sees a similarity between the image shown and the lines in human skin? (Look at the back of your hand closely...) For that matter, it also resembles the cracking into plates of dried out earth.

    The universe is a wonderful thing!

    1. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: Am I the only one

      Now that you mention it, no.

      However that picture is a spitting image of the blanket one of the cats have been using to sleep on.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Am I the only one

      Look into fractals for more of the same.

  36. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Computers. Meh.

    Playmobil recreation of the universe when?

  37. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    The expansion of the Universe is NOT accelerating

    It is the passage of time that is decelerating. Or at least it is not possible to tell the difference ...

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: The expansion of the Universe is NOT accelerating

      But, is it decelerating faster with time?

  38. zentara

    Welcome to the Great Matrix

    Hi, I read news and realize that this is the essence of Krishna Consciousness training. The great flow of the Tao, the Will of Vishnu, is reality, but it works in a great consciousness based world, where thoughts become real, instantly.

    In the computer analogy, Vishnu is root, and we are bathed in the Brahman Effulgence. It is a realtime 4d matrix of interlocking event sequences, in which we exist in, and have a pid of our own. Our timeless souls, entangled in the world of the Higg's boson, and losing our connection with the

    true root authority, Vishnu.

    Once you realize this to be true, you learn to do root's (Vishnu's) Will, and be free, to traverse the matrix.

    The whole idea is to successfully transcend the bounds of earth, a place to which we are attracted because of our desires. That's where maya comes in, who makes our

    little trips to earth so entertaining. :-)

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