A new parallel code for very large-scale cosmological simulations Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We have developed a parallel Particle-Particle, Particle-Mesh (P3M) simulation code for the Cray T3E parallel supercomputer that is well suited to studying the time evolution of systems of particles interacting via gravity and gas forces in cosmological contexts. The parallel code is based upon the public-domain serial Adaptive P3M code of Couchman et al. The algorithm resolves gravitational forces into a long-range component computed by discretizing the mass distribution and solving Poisson's equation on a grid using an FFT convolution method, and a short-range component computed by direct force summation for sufficiently close particle pairs. The code consists primarily of a particle-particle computation parallelized by domain decomposition over blocks of neighbour-cells, a more regular mesh calculation distributed in planes along one dimension, and several transformations between the two distributions. The load balancing of the P3M code is static, since this greatly aids the ongoing implementation of parallel adaptive refinements of the particle and mesh systems. Great care was taken throughout to make optimal use of the available memory, so that a version of the current implementation has been used to simulate systems of up to 10^9 particles with a 1024^3 mesh for the long-range force computation. These are the largest Cosmological N-body simulations of which we are aware. We discuss these memory optimizations as well as those motivated by computational performance. Performance results are very encouraging, and, even without refinements, the code has been used effectively for simulations in which the particle distribution becomes highly clustered as well as for other non-uniform systems of astrophysical interest.

publication date

  • December 1998