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Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg

The Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg (Centre for Astronomy of the University of Heidelberg, ZAH) consists of the former instutes of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg Astronomisches Rechen-Institut (ARI) and Landessternwarte Königstuhl (LSW), and the Institut für Theoretische Astrophysik (ITA) of the university of Heidelberg. The ZAH was founded on January 1, 2005 and is a part of the university of Heidelberg. Under the head of the ZAH the three institutes continue to exist. The ZAH participated in the Sonderforschungsbereich 439 (Galaxies in the Young Universe).

Main research topics with Grid applications: >
  • Stellar dynamics: The structure, kinematics and dynamics of stellar systems is investigated. The topic covers stars in the vicinity of the sun, open clusters, the milky way, other galaxies, interacting galaxies, galaxy clusters, and cosmological problems. Our apprach is
    • the compilation and analysis of observations
    • the numerical simulation on two powerful computer clusters (128 processors, among them 32 GRAPE special-purpose processor cards for the evaluation of gravitational interactions and 32 reconfigurable FPGA processors)
    • using computing time on parallel computers at the federal computing centers in Jülich and Stuttgart
    • to apply the highly parallel version of the NBODY6++ N-body simulation software developed at the ARI
    • to develop GRID software in order to increase the particle numbers in the computer models by a more efficient usage of computational hardware resources
  • Satellite astrometry: This field has a large tradition at the ARI, especially since the participation in the analysis of the data from the HIPPARCOS satellite at the end of the 1980s. While about 100,000 stars have analysed at that time, GAIA -- a cornerstone mission of the European space agency ESA -- has to be able to process about one billion stars. Possible aspects of GRID-computing for GAIA at the ARI may include
    • an evaluation of the satellite health with data on microarcsecond level from each 24 hour time interval.
    • The participation in GAIA shell tasks (e.g. algorithms and simulations for double stars and planetary orbits).

    The ARI is part of GaiaGrid and has run prototype simulations in the framework of this European collaboration.
  • Planck Process Coordinatorr:
    In collaboration with the MPA the ITA has developed a data processing tool, the so called Planck Process Coordinator, which is able to handle large astronomical data sets. The process coordinator should be adapted to the D-Grid environment.
    The Process Coordinator
    • is an event-driven control software for modular software-work flows with a comfortable graphical user and data managment interface.
    • uses a special data management component which guides the data streams through the process modules with the help of a database.
    • allows the distribution of the data sets for simulations and the derived synthetic observational data as well as the process coordinator and the data management component to a larger scientific community.