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Center for Parallel Astrophysical Computing (CPAC)

All modern astronomical research requires computers, but some simulations of astrophysical systems need far more power than a single computer can provide. For these tasks, researchers rely on parallel computing: the use of multiple processors working in parallel. The Center for Parallel Astrophysical Computing (CPAC) at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian is dedicated to developing parallel-computing tools and methodology for astrophysicists to use in their research.

When One Processor Isn’t Enough

These systems usually have many parts: the matter in a galaxy, gas swirling around a black hole, or the web of galaxies that form the large-scale structure of the universe. For these, scientists require parallel computing: multiple processors, where each processor tackles one piece of the problem. Members of the CPAC develop new and improved parallel-computing methods for astrophysicists to use in their work.