Large Grants
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Previous Programs

2018 Agency in the Physical World
Awardees; RFP download

2016 Physics of the Observer
Awardees; RFP download

2015 The Physics of What Happens
Awardees; RFP download

2013 Physics of Information
Awardees; RFP download

2010 The Nature of Time
Awardees; RFP download

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

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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