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Calculating Conditions at the Birth of the Universe
Date:8/25/2014

Livermore, California (PRWEB) August 25, 2014

Using a calculation originally proposed seven years ago to be performed on a petaflop computer, Lawrence Livermore researchers computed conditions that simulate the birth of the universe.

When the universe was less than one microsecond old and more than one trillion degrees, it transformed from a plasma of quarks and gluons into bound states of quarks - also known as protons and neutrons, the fundamental building blocks of ordinary matter that make up most of the visible universe.

The theory of quantum chromodynamics (QCD) governs the interactions of the strong nuclear force and predicts it should happen when such conditions occur.

In a paper appearing in the Aug. 18 edition of Physical Review Letters, Lawrence Livermore scientists Chris Schroeder, Ron Soltz and Pavlos Vranas calculated the properties of the QCD phase transition using LLNL's Vulcan, a five-petaflop machine. This work was done within the LLNL-led HotQCD Collaboration, involving Los Alamos National Laboratory, Institute for Nuclear Theory, Columbia University, Central China Normal University, Brookhaven National Laboratory and Universität Bielefed in Germany.

This is the first time that this calculation has been performed in a way that preserves a certain fundamental symmetry of the QCD, in which the right and left-handed quarks (scientists call this chirality) can be interchanged without altering the equations. These important symmetries are easy to describe, but they are computationally very challenging to implement.

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