Fast galactic structure finding using graphics processing units

Wood, Daniel (2014)

Includes bibliographical references.


Cosmological simulations are used by astronomers to investigate large scale structure formation and galaxy evolution. Structure finding, that is, the discovery of gravitationally-bound objects such as dark matter halos, is a crucial step in many such simulations. During recent years, advancing computational capacity has lead to halo-finders needing to manage increasingly larger simulations. As a result, many multi-core solutions have arisen in an attempt to process these simulations more efficiently. However, a many-core approach to the problem using graphics processing units (GPUs) appears largely unexplored. Since these simulations are inherently n-body problems, they contain a high degree of parallelism, which makes them very well suited to a GPU architecture. Therefore, it makes sense to determine the potential for further research in halo-finding algorithms on a GPU.