Researchers have created a virtual universe and made the software, called Uchuu, available to everyone via the cloud. Uchuu is a Japanese word meaning outer space, and the software is described as the largest and most realistic simulation of the universe so far. The simulation has 2.1 trillion particles in a computational cube measuring 9.63 billion light-years across.
Researchers behind the project say their creation is the most realistic and largest universe simulation ever released. 9.63 billion light-years across is about 75 percent of the distance between Earth and the most distant galaxies we can observe. The team created Uchuu to study the universe on a scale that was impossible until now.
Focusing on the universe’s large-scale structure, Uchuu features halos of dark matter, which are not well understood today. What anyone exploring the software won’t find within its massive scale are individual stars and planets. That means there will be no exploring mysterious alien worlds.
Uchuu was designed to simulate the illusion of the universe over almost its entire 13.8 billion years, starting with the Big Bang and ending in the present. Researcher Julia F. Ereza uses the software to study the universe’s structure, noting that the time domain essentially creates a time machine. Uses can move forward and backward in time and zoom in on a single galaxy or take a wider scope view of an entire galaxy cluster.
Creating Uchuu requires the use of a supercomputer called ATERUI II and all 40,200 of its CPU cores. Creating the simulation consumed all the power from those cores exclusively for 48 hours each month for a total of 20 million supercomputer hours. Researchers produced 3 petabytes of data while creating the software. However, compression techniques allowed simulation to be compressed to 100 terabytes.