Large Grants
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Previous Programs

2016 Physics of the Observer
2016 Awardees

2015 The Physics of What Happens
2015 Awardees

2013 Physics of Information
2013 Awardees

2010 The Nature of Time
2010 Awardees

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
2008 Awardees

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
2006 Awardees

Dr. Gaurav Khanna
University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth

Project Title

Numerical Techniques for Solving Models of Quantum Gravity

Project Summary

A complete theory of quantum gravity is needed to answer some of the most foundational questions in science: How did our universe begin? What is the nature of space and time? What are "singularities''? Loop quantum cosmology is an application of loop quantum gravity, a theory that leads to space-time that is discrete at Planck scales (about thirty-three orders of magnitude smaller than a centimeter) to models in cosmology. One important result of LQC is that it is free of "singularities" - such as the "big bang", replacing it by a "big bounce" - and thus enabling us to theoretically probe the events that lead to the beginning of our universe. This project is about understanding and analyzing a specific aspect of LQC (the semi-classical limit) using numerical computation. What is particularly unique about our proposed research is that we intend to use the Sony Playstation 3 for this computation because it is particularly well suited for this work. The computation would have otherwise required a moderate supercomputing level effort. Thus, this project will also explore the possibility of obtaining an extremely high "bang-per-buck" for scientific computation using the PS3, compared with more traditional systems.

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