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Press Release

Supercomputer helps telescope see echos from the big bang

Canada NewsWire

TORONTO, June 9 /CNW/ - An international collaboration of scientists has announced the first results of the ACT project, probing the early years of the Universe, at Canada's largest supercomputing conference in Toronto today. The presentation was made by Jonathan Sievers, of the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics.

The Atacama Cosmology Telescope is one of the largest telescopes of its kind, and the flood of data from this instrument in Chile in one day is the equivalent of a decade of data from an earlier satellite experiment. This requires the largest computers to make sense of it all -- including SciNet's GPC, the largest computer in Canada. "SciNet is essential for the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) project. The computer has enabled a new frontier in producing maps of the early universe, and is changing the way cosmologists make sense of the cosmos", said Professor Lyman Page of Princeton.

The first results have already given cosmologists the first glimpse of the transition from a simple universe to one containing the more complicated structures seen today. As part of the investigation, the team has identified previously unknown clusters of galaxies and is following them up with optical observations to determine their distances and masses.

"In other words, we have begun to observe how the largest objects in the universe, the clusters of galaxies, emerged from the primordial plasma", said Dr. Sievers.

More information available at

About SciNet:

SciNet is Canada's largest supercomputer centre, providing Canadian researchers with the computational resources and expertise necessary to perform their research on scales not previously possible in Canada, from the biomedical sciences and aerospace engineering to astrophysics and climate science. More information is available at

About HPCS2010:

The High Performance Computing Symposium is Canadaâ(euro)(TM)s foremost research supercomputing conference. The 24th HPCS takes place at the University of Toronto on June 5-9, with the theme of `Data Intensive Computing: Across Disciplines, Across Canada'. More information is available at

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