Astronomy Colloquium: Better living through computation: exploring the first generations of galaxies with large-scale simulations
Abstract: Galaxies are complicated beasts - many physical processes operate simultaneously, and over a huge range of scales in space and time. As a result, accurately modeling the formation and evolution of galaxies over the lifetime of the universe presents tremendous technical challenges. In this talk I will discuss these challenges and their solutions, and will also present results from the Renaissance Simulations - a suite of physics-rich simulations of high redshift galaxy formation done on the Blue Waters supercomputer. These calculations, which include radiation transport and a wide variety of other physical effects, resolve virtually every halo that may possibly form stars and make a variety of predictions about the transition to metal-enriched star formation, the bulk properties of high-redshift galaxies, and the high-redshift luminosity function.