There are a number of science challenges requiring high performance computing that will need to be addressed, for example:
- the study of cosmology and astronomy where challenges include: modelling the large-scale structure of the Universe; the formation and evolution of galaxies and clusters of galaxies, and the physics of the intergalactic and intracluster gas; studying fundamental physics in the early Universe; the effects of dark energy and modified gravity on structure formation; parameter estimation and model selection using large astronomical datasets generated by cosmic microwave background experiments and large galaxy redshift surveys; and theoretical simulations vital for efficient and effective use of STFC supported telescope facilities on ground or in space.
- the study of the 'local' astronomical environment - from the upper levels of the Earth's atmosphere to the stars and gas clouds of the galaxy. Modelling solar and planetary magnetohydrodynamics and galactic dynamos; modelling star and planet formation; understanding the local astronomical environment from the upper levels of the Earth's atmosphere, to space weather, to gas and dust around stars.
- The study of the theory of the strong force using the numerical techniques of Lattice QCD. The objective is to increase the predictive power of the Standard Model of particle physics and other relevant strongly-interacting field theories by numerical simulation of lattice-regularised quantum field theory. This leads to the calculation of physical quantities which are essential to the interpretation of experimental observations. The basic numberical problem is the estimation of a huge multi-dimensional integral over quark and gluon degrees of freedom using Monte Carlo importance sampling (the dimension of the integral is proportional to the volume of spacetime under consideration). The most computationally-demanding step is the repeated inversion of a large sparse matrix describing quark propagation through a background gluon field configuration.
- Support for the STFC national facilities including the Diamond Light Source, ISIS and the Central Laser Facility. These facilities provide the large-scale experimental instrumentation needed to underpin a wide range of research activities in a number of key areas of science and technology, including physics, chemistry, biology and earth sciences. General themes include studies of the structure and dynamics of condensed matter, molecular and plasma systems using high intensity light and neutron beamlines.