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NCSA Colloquium: The Universe in a Box -- Simulating Galaxy Formation with Blue Waters

NCSA Colloquium: The Universe in a Box -- Simulating Galaxy Formation with Blue Waters

Light refreshments will be served after the talk. 

Abstract: Galaxies are complicated beasts - many physical processes operate simultaneously, and over a huge range of scales in space and time.  As a result, accurately modeling the formation and evolution of galaxies over the lifetime of the universe presents tremendous technical challenges.  In this talk I will describe some of the important unanswered questions about galaxy formation, discuss in general terms how we simulate the formation of galaxies on a computer, and present simulations (and accompanying published results) that the Enzo collaboration has recently done on the Blue Waters supercomputer.

Bio: Brian O'Shea received his B.S. in Engineering Physics at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2000, and his PhD in physics from UIUC in 2005 (with 2002-2005 being spent as a graduate student in residence at the Laboratory for Computational Astrophysics at UC San Diego). Following that, he was a Director's Postdoctoral Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory, with a joint appointment between the Theoretical Astrophysics Group and the Applied Physics Division. Since 2008, he has been a member of the faculty at Michigan State University, with a joint appointment between the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Lyman Briggs College (assistant professor 2008-12, associate professor 2014-present). Dr. O'Shea is a computational and theoretical astrophysicist studying cosmological structure formation, including galaxy formation and the behavior of the hot, diffuse plasma within galaxy clusters. He is also a co-author of the Enzo AMR code, an expert in high performance computing, and an advocate for open-source computing and open-source science. He has authored or co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles in astrophysics, computer science, and education research journals.

Friday, March 13, 2015