Moments after the Big Bang being recreated through new simulation data

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The secret to what happened in the first few seconds after the Big Bang and the start of the universe is getting closer to being revealed through a new simulation map.

A group of researchers from the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) in Spain have collaborated with another team from Osaka University in Japan to formulate new avenues to make it possible to recreate computer models of the formation and evolution of the Universe.

In a statement, researchers say these “virtual universes serve as test beds for the study of cosmology”.

Simulation of the Formation and Evolution of a Cluster of Galaxies through the research team at IAC.
Simulation of the Formation and Evolution of a Cluster of Galaxies through the research team at IAC. (IAC/Claudio Dalla Vecchia)

“We are making a special effort to develop machine learning techniques to speed up the whole process,” Francesco Sinigaglia, a joint PhD student at the University of La Laguna in Spain, the IAC and the University of Padua in Italy, said.

Machine learning involves a type of computer algorithm where a computer recognises patterns to finish 100,000 of computation.

The researches used a new algorithm called Hydro-BAM, which was created to have machine learning, cosmology, and probability, thus making it capable to gather highly accurate predictions.

The new algorithm has allowed the scientists to analyse and graph dark matter, neutral hydrogen, energise gas, and other cosmic phenomena that are vital to comprehending the make-up of the Universe.

Sinigaglia says his team had a breakthrough when “we understood that the connections between the quantities of intergalactic gas, dark matter and neutral hydrogen that we were trying to model are well organised in a hierarchical way”.

This image provided by the National Science Foundation shows a rendering of how the first stars in the universe might have looked.
This image provided by the National Science Foundation shows a rendering of how the first stars in the universe might have looked. (AP)

A connection was made about gas trees and a cosmic forest through the recreation of Lyman-alpha forests, which are a pattern produced when “trees” of hydrogen gas, scattered throughout the Universe, absorb the light emitted by these distant objects.

“The ionised gas has a distribution in space very similar to that of the dark matter and the neutral hydrogen is determined by the distribution of the ionised gas; moreover, the joint distribution of the ionised gas and neutral hydrogen gives us information about the thermal state of the gas and allows us to predict the absorption flux of the Lyman-alpha forest”.

Through this researchers are able to see how absorption patterns correspond to clouds at various distances.

And it indicates the “different ages of the Universe as well as providing information about the intergalactic medium” according to Sinigaglia.

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