Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2018-02-12

Quantum computing

New controls scale quantum chips ...

Controlling quantum interactions in a single material ...

Light controls two-atom quantum computation ...

Focus on Europe

TANGO project releases the Beta version of #TANGOToolbox to facilitate the effort of coding when targeting various hardware architectures ...

Nominations open for PRACE Ada Lovelace Award for HPC 2018 ...

Optalysys and The Earlham Institute achieve over 90% energy savings in breakthrough project applying optical processing for DNA sequence alignment ...

Middleware

Sylabs emerges from stealth to bring Singularity container technology to enterprise performance computing ...

Dell EMC expands server capabilities for software-defined, edge and high-performance computing ...

Hardware

Virtual reality helps explore the GPS of the mind ...

HiPerGator is the number 3 most powerful computer at a U.S. public university ...

Supermicro expands edge computing and network appliance portfolio with new high density SoC solutions ...

Supermicro introduces Silicon Valley's first 3-Megawatt clean energy automated rack integration facility ...

One Stop Systems introduces highest bandwidth, 5th generation NVMe ion accelerator flash storage array ...

Applications

University of Illinois researcher recognized with ACM Fellowship for contributions to parallel programming ...

After the storm: Simulating and visualizing extreme weather with XSEDE ...

XSEDE's Maverick helps explore next generation solar cells and LEDs ...

Optimized solutions for treating bone fractures will soon be reality ...

UMass Amherst computer science experts in artificial intelligence join IBM's AI Horizons Network ...

AI computer vision breakthrough IDs poachers in less than half a second ...

University of Chicago astrophysicists settle cosmic debate on magnetism of planets and stars ...

Portland State University joins nationwide program to develop brain-inspired computing ...

The Cloud

Ampere launches to accelerate hyperscale Cloud computing innovations ...

Oracle Cloud growth driving aggressive global expansion ...

Leading Cloud providers join with NSF to support data science frontiers ...

Smartly containing the Cloud increases computing efficiency, according to first-of-its-kind study ...

University of Chicago astrophysicists settle cosmic debate on magnetism of planets and stars

This is a 3D radiation magneto-hydrodynamic FLASH simulation of the experiment, performed on the Mira supercomputer at Argonne National Laboratory. The values demonstrate strong amplification of the seed magnetic fields by turbulent dynamo. Credit: Petros Tzeferacos/University of Chicago.9 Feb 2018 Chicago - The universe is highly magnetic, with everything from stars to planets to galaxies producing their own magnetic fields. Astrophysicists have long puzzled over these surprisingly strong and long-lived fields, with theories and simulations seeking a mechanism that explains their generation.

Using one of the world's most powerful laser facilities, a team led by University of Chicago scientists experimentally confirmed one of the most popular theories for cosmic magnetic field generation: the turbulent dynamo. By creating a hot turbulent plasma the size of a penny, that lasts a few billionths of a second, the researchers recorded how the turbulent motions can amplify a weak magnetic field to the strengths of those observed in our sun, distant stars, and galaxies.

The paper, published inNature Communications, is the first laboratory demonstration of a theory, explaining the magnetic field of numerous cosmic bodies, debated by physicists for nearly a century. Using the FLASH physics simulation code, developed by the Flash Center for Computational Science at the University of Chicago, the researchers designed an experiment conducted at the OMEGA Laser Facility in Rochester, New York to recreate turbulent dynamo conditions.

Confirming decades of numerical simulations, the experiment revealed that turbulent plasma could dramatically boost a weak magnetic field up to the magnitude observed by astronomers in stars and galaxies.

"We now know for sure that turbulent dynamo exists, and that it's one of the mechanisms that can actually explain magnetization of the universe", stated Petros Tzeferacos, research assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics and associate director of the Flash Center. "This is something that we hoped we knew, but now we do."

A mechanical dynamo produces an electric current by rotating coils through a magnetic field. In astrophysics, dynamo theory proposes the reverse: the motion of electrically-conducting fluid creates and maintains a magnetic field. In the early 20th century, physicist Joseph Larmor proposed that such a mechanism could explain the magnetism of the Earth and Sun, inspiring decades of scientific debate and inquiry.

While numerical simulations demonstrated that turbulent plasma can generate magnetic fields at the scale of those observed in stars, planets, and galaxies, creating a turbulent dynamo in the laboratory was far more difficult. Confirming the theory requires producing plasma at extremely high temperature and volatility to produce the sufficient turbulence to fold, stretch and amplify the magnetic field.

To design an experiment that creates those conditions, Petros Tzeferacos and colleagues at the University of Chicago and the University of Oxford ran hundreds of two- and three-dimensional simulations with FLASH on the Mira supercomputer at Argonne National Laboratory. The final set-up involved blasting two penny-sized pieces of foil with powerful lasers, propelling two jets of plasma through grids and into collision with each other, creating turbulent fluid motion.

"People have dreamed of doing this experiment with lasers for a long time, but it really took the ingenuity of this team to make this happen", stated Donald Lamb, the Robert A. Millikan Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Astronomy & Astrophysics and director of the Flash Center. "This is a huge breakthrough."

The team also used FLASH simulations to develop two independent methods for measuring the magnetic field produced by the plasma: proton radiography, the subject of a recent paper from the FLASH group, and polarized light, based on how astronomers measure the magnetic fields of distant objects. Both measurements tracked the growth in mere nanoseconds of the magnetic field from its weak initial state to over 100 kiloGauss - stronger than a high-resolution MRI scanner and a million times stronger than the magnetic field of the Earth.

"This work opens up the opportunity to verify experimentally ideas and concepts about the origin of magnetic fields in the universe that have been proposed and studied theoretically over the better part of a century", stated Fausto Cattaneo, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago and a co-author of the paper.

Now that a turbulent dynamo can be created in a laboratory, scientists can explore deeper questions about its function: how quickly does the magnetic field increase in strength? How strong can the field get? How does the magnetic field alter the turbulence that amplified it?

"It's one thing to have well-developed theories, but it's another thing to really demonstrate it in a controlled laboratory setting where you can make all these kinds of measurements about what's going on", Donald Lamb stated. "Now that we can do it, we can poke it and probe it."

In addition to Petros Tzeferacos and Donald Lamb, University of Chicago co-authors on the paper include Carlo Graziani and Gianluca Gregori, who is also professor of physics at the University of Oxford. The research was funded by the European Research Council and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Source: University of Chicago

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2018-02-12

Quantum computing

New controls scale quantum chips ...

Controlling quantum interactions in a single material ...

Light controls two-atom quantum computation ...

Focus on Europe

TANGO project releases the Beta version of #TANGOToolbox to facilitate the effort of coding when targeting various hardware architectures ...

Nominations open for PRACE Ada Lovelace Award for HPC 2018 ...

Optalysys and The Earlham Institute achieve over 90% energy savings in breakthrough project applying optical processing for DNA sequence alignment ...

Middleware

Sylabs emerges from stealth to bring Singularity container technology to enterprise performance computing ...

Dell EMC expands server capabilities for software-defined, edge and high-performance computing ...

Hardware

Virtual reality helps explore the GPS of the mind ...

HiPerGator is the number 3 most powerful computer at a U.S. public university ...

Supermicro expands edge computing and network appliance portfolio with new high density SoC solutions ...

Supermicro introduces Silicon Valley's first 3-Megawatt clean energy automated rack integration facility ...

One Stop Systems introduces highest bandwidth, 5th generation NVMe ion accelerator flash storage array ...

Applications

University of Illinois researcher recognized with ACM Fellowship for contributions to parallel programming ...

After the storm: Simulating and visualizing extreme weather with XSEDE ...

XSEDE's Maverick helps explore next generation solar cells and LEDs ...

Optimized solutions for treating bone fractures will soon be reality ...

UMass Amherst computer science experts in artificial intelligence join IBM's AI Horizons Network ...

AI computer vision breakthrough IDs poachers in less than half a second ...

University of Chicago astrophysicists settle cosmic debate on magnetism of planets and stars ...

Portland State University joins nationwide program to develop brain-inspired computing ...

The Cloud

Ampere launches to accelerate hyperscale Cloud computing innovations ...

Oracle Cloud growth driving aggressive global expansion ...

Leading Cloud providers join with NSF to support data science frontiers ...

Smartly containing the Cloud increases computing efficiency, according to first-of-its-kind study ...