Ripples in space-time first predicted by Einstein over a century ago
The Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) has launched a new Intel Xeon-based supercomputer, named Minerva, which will allow researchers to calculate gravitational waves six times faster than before.
Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time that originate when massive objects, such as black holes and neutron stars, merge. They were first detected in September 2015, which confirmed a prediction that Einstein made in his general theory of relativity.
The new Minerva supercomputer, powered by Intel Xeon E6-2630 v3 processors, feature 9,504 compute cores and offer a peak performance of 302.4 teraflops-per-second, which is six times more powerful than its predecessor, according to a recent press release from the institute.
Researchers use laser interferometers to detect gravitational waves, but massive amounts of computing power are necessary to analyze the data and confirm their findings.
“Such calculations need a lot of compute power and are very time-consuming,” says Alessandra Buonanno, director of the Albert Einstein Institute. “The simulation of the first gravitational wave measured by LIGO lasted three weeks on our previous supercomputer Datura. Minerva is significantly faster and so we can now react even quicker to new detections and can calculate more signals.”