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Millennium Simulation

The Millennium Simulation is a computer program that uses the laws of physics and initial conditions at the time the universe was formed to simulate the structure and the evolution of the universe, and in particular, the evolution of black hole s, galaxies, and quasar s. When the simulation was run at the Max Planck Society Computing Center in Garching, Germany, it produced 25 terabytes ( TB ) of stored output, and consumed all the resources of the supercomputer for a continuous period of one month. The simulation modeled today's universe, 14 billion years after the "Big Bang."

The Millennium Simulation model describes a cubic section of intergalactic space measuring approximately 2 billion (2 x 10 9 ) light years on each edge. (A light year is the distance that a photon of light or other electromagnetic energy travels through space in a year, approximately 9.7 x 10 12 kilometers or 6 x 10 12 miles.) The Millennium Simulation creates an artificial cosmos that is based on observed and theoretical properties of the real one. As such, it allows astronomers and cosmologists to gain unprecedented insights into the past, present, and future of the actual universe. Of special interest are black holes, and the roles they play in the development and behavior of galaxies and quasars.

This was last updated in September 2005

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