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About the Center

Missions, Goals, and Activities

The University of California has invested tremendously in astrophysics. We build the world’s largest optical telescopes and are building two unique state-of-the-art radio telescopes. We operate three major observatories and two major space science laboratories. We’ve become increasingly involved in major satellite observatories such as the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.

But just as important as observational hardware is our extraordinary investment in computational astrophysics and computer simulations. Indeed, the UC campuses and national laboratories plus NASA Ames Research Center are home to what is easily the largest and most powerful computational astrophysics faculty in the a key moment when astro-simulations are just now reaching their full power to explain and interpret the universe.
The goal of UC-HIPACC is to realize the full potential of these twin streams by bringing together computational astrophysicists, computer scientists, computer hardware engineers, and, most especially, the builders and users of UC telescopes. In the process, we are empowering this team to A) utilize the next generation of supercomputers, hosting hundreds of thousands or millions of processors, to understand astrophysical processes through simulation, and to B) analyze the petabytes (soon to be exabytes) of data that will flow from new telescopes and supercomputers.

Our individual UC and Lab astrocomputation groups are relatively well funded but lack the tradition of sharing knowledge, students, postdocs, or computing resources to meet this new challenge. UC-HIPACC will realize the “Power of Twelve” (nine campuses and three national labs) by fostering a new tradition of systemwide collaborations—and will do so with an expenditure of funds that is tiny compared to our already huge investments.

UC-HIPACC sponsors working groups of UC scientists from multiple campuses and labs pursuing joint projects in computational astrophysics; such sponsorship includes supporting travel and lodging for working meetings. It sponsors workshops and conferences on topics in computational astrophysics (one in Northern California and one in Southern California each year). It also sponsors an annual summer school open to UC grad students and postdocs as well as participants from beyond California.