Close-up illustration of the sun.

Learning more about the sun

The Sun is of great importance for life on earth. Increased knowledge about the Sun’s atmosphere and space weather is important as the Sun conditions can impact human health, the performance of technology we use on Earth and can even cause damage to critical infrastructures, such as the electric grid.

The HPC project “Solar Atmospheric Modelling” uses the applications Bifrost and Dispatch to simulate the Sun’s atmosphere, the outer layers from which sunlight comes. The simulations are compared with observations from solar telescopes on the ground and space, to learn more about how the Sun, and thus other stars, works.

The applications are highly parallel, which mean that they use numerous processor cores to perform calculations faster. On Betzy, Bifrost has been tested on more than 131,000 cores, and application developers are collaborating to adapt the code to the GPU. This makes the applications particularly suitable for piloting the new supercomputer LUMI.

Mats Carlsson. Photo.
In the long run, we hope the increased knowledge can provide a better understanding of solar storms and better forecasts of space weather. To achieve this, we must simulate much larger areas of the Sun than we have done so far. This requires even larger computing resources as well as the development of new algorithms and methods. We hope the new LUMI computer can help with this
Mats Carlson, Professor at Rosseland Centre for Solar Physics, UiO