Black Holes have always been shrouded in mystery. They’re constantly pulling in their surroundings and no one knows where they lead, and the science between these space phenomenon is still filled with gaps in knowledge. Stephen Hawking, perhaps the most famous astrophysicist worldwide, hopes to unlock the secrets of black holes, the big bang, and the universe at large with a new supercomputer capable of going through 14 billion years of data.Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Doug Wheller / Flickr
Hawking’s Centre for Theoretical Cosmology (COSMOS) has partnered with Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HP) for this massive undertaking that will push the latest advancements in computer processing power to its limits. According to Professor Paul Shepherd in an email to Newsweek, “the influx of new data about the most extreme events in our universe has led to dramatic progress in cosmology and relativity.”
A new supercomputer capable of analyzing huge data sets affords physicists a powerful tool that can be used to answer big questions about the origins of the universe. With this increased processing power, theoretical models may finally be able to be tested using real world data, which has huge implications for the field of astrophysics.
Stephen Hawking has his eyes set higher than a simple understanding of black holes, however. His final goal is to develop an “ultimate theory” which would allow scientists to predict “everything in the universe.” That goal may be a little ambitious with our current technology and understanding, but there’s no doubt that advancements in tech bring us closer and closer to truly understanding the universe.
Part of Hawking’s plan to create the “ultimate theory” is using 3D mapping to create models of the early universe — plotting the positions of galaxies, black holes and supernovas. “Our COSMOS group is working to understand how space and time work, from before the first trillion trillionth of a second after the Big Bang up to today,” stated Hawking.
The new technology employed for this ambitious task, known as the HPE Superdome Flex in-memory computing platform, will be used in tandem with an HPE Apollo supercomputer to allow COSMOS to compare cosmological theory with data from the known universe.
Stephen Hawking has plans to unravel the secrets of the universe, and this new supercomputer is just the start. Only now has technology advanced to the point where this gargantuan amount of data can be quickly processed. Armed with the tools they need to test their cosmological understanding, scientists may start to make rapid strides towards a comprehensive understanding of the world around us. If anyone can do it, it’s Stephen Hawking.