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Cosmic Microwave Background gives new insights into early universe

CTC scientists are refining our understanding of the formation of the early universe by analyzing the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) data captured by the Planck Satellite. The CMB is the relic radiation or “first light” to escape once the very hot temperature from the Big Bang cooled after about 300,000 years. It is like looking at a snapshot of the Universe as it was over 13 billion years ago.

The CTC is home to COSMOS, a Xeon Phi enabled SGI UV2000 supercomputer and the largest shared-memory system in Europe. The COSMOS team at Cambridge has developed a new code called MODAL for analyzing the Planck data. This new code allows us to find and interpret the very tiny fluctuations that have been measured between different CMB data points on the sky. These fluctuations can provide insight into new physics theories about how structures like stars and galaxies formed in our Universe.

Our analysis of the Planck satellite data confirms a signal predicted by general relativity, but it also reveals other possible yet unexplained signals which could tell us much more about the early universe. Below is a film which shows Dr Juha Jäykkä, one of the COSMOS team, giving a demonstration of the analysis at the 2015 International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt.


Members of our COSMOS team have also written up the new Planck data results in a chapter in the recently published book High Performance Parallelism Pearls, Volume Two: Multicore and Many-core Programming Approaches, which features our images on the front cover:

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