What is the Virgo Consortium?
The Virgo Consortium
for Cosmological Supercomputer Simulations was founded in 1994 in response
to the UK's High Performance Computing Initiative. Virgo developed rapidly
into the international collaboration that it is today. The Virgo Consortium
has a core membership of about a dozen scientists in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Canada
the USA and Japan. The largest nodes are the
Institute for Computational Cosmology in Durham, UK and the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany.
The Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) has recently joined as a node. Other nodes exist in Cambridge, Edinburgh, Nottingham and Sussex in the UK, Leiden in the Netherlands, McMaster and Queen's Universities in Canada, Pittsburgh University in the USA and Nagoya University in Japan. At any given time, an additional 20-25 scientists, mostly PhD students and postdocs, are directly involved in aspects of the Virgo
The science goals
of Virgo are to carry out state-of-the-art cosmological simulations. The research areas include the large-scale distribution of dark matter, the
formation of dark matter haloes, the formation and evolution of galaxies and clusters,
the physics of the intergalactic medium and the properties of the intracluster gas.
Virgo's current resources:
Virgo has access to world class supercomputing resources in the UK and
Germany, including the dedicated "Cosmology Machine" at Durham, which was
refreshed at the beginning of 2011 and now has more than 3000 cores, 14 Tb
of memory and 600 Tb of disc storage. To date the Virgo consortium's
largest calculations have used supercomputers in Germany at the RZG and LRZ
at Garching and most recently at the FZ at Juelich.