(ORDO NEWS) — A new computer simulation makes it possible to understand the evolution of the universe in the first few seconds after the Big Bang, namely in terms of the evolution of what scientists call the intergalactic medium – the gas and dust that fills the space between galaxies.
A team led by researchers from the Astrophysical Institute of the Canary Islands used machine learning algorithms, which involve “training” a computer to recognize certain structures, to run a 100,000-hour simulation program with them. The algorithm used in this project is called Hydro-BAM.
This new scientific work has allowed researchers to study cosmic objects such as dark matter, high-energy gas, neutral hydrogen and other sources that play an important role in understanding the universe, representatives of the Astrophysical Institute of the Canary Islands said in a statement.
“This study also made it possible to recreate structures called the Lyman-Alpha forest with high fidelity,” they added. These structures are found in the spectra of galaxies and similar objects, and their origin is associated with the nature of the absorption of light emitted by galaxies by clouds of hydrogen gas.
“These ‘virtual universes’ serve as ‘laboratories’ for studying cosmological-scale processes,” the researchers added. “However, such simulations require a lot of computer time, and currently available computing power allows us to explore only relatively small fragments of space.”
Mapping absorption lines in the spectra of galaxies has given the team an idea of where the hydrogen clouds are located. In addition, the authors of the work were able to obtain information on the composition of gas and dust in the intergalactic medium.
“We were surprised to find that the relationships between the quantities of intergalactic gas, dark matter and neutral hydrogen that we were trying to recreate are well organized into a hierarchical structure,” said Francesco Sinigaglia, a doctoral student at the University of La Laguna, Spain, who is the main author of this new study.
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