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Journal Article

Dynamic zoom simulations: A fast, adaptive algorithm for simulating light-cones


Garaldi,  Enrico
Computational Structure Formation, MPI for Astrophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Garaldi, E., Nori, M., & Baldi, M. (2020). Dynamic zoom simulations: A fast, adaptive algorithm for simulating light-cones. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 499(2), 2685-2700. doi:10.1093/mnras/staa2064.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-D6E9-1
The advent of a new generation of large-scale galaxy surveys is pushing cosmological numerical simulations in an uncharted territory. The simultaneous requirements of high resolution and very large volume pose serious technical challenges, due to their computational and data storage demand. In this paper, we present a novel approach dubbed dynamic zoom simulations – or dzs – developed to tackle these issues. Our method is tailored to the production of light-cone outputs from N-body numerical simulations, which allow for a more efficient storage and post-processing compared to standard comoving snapshots, and more directly mimic the format of survey data. In dzs, the resolution of the simulation is dynamically decreased outside the light-cone surface, reducing the computational work load, while simultaneously preserving the accuracy inside the light-cone and the large-scale gravitational field. We show that our approach can achieve virtually identical results to traditional simulations at half of the computational cost for our largest box. We also forecast this speedup to increase up to a factor of 5 for larger and/or higher resolution simulations. We assess the accuracy of the numerical integration by comparing pairs of identical simulations run with and without dzs. Deviations in the light-cone halo mass function, in the sky-projected light-cone, and in the 3D matter light-cone always remain below 0.1 per cent. In summary, our results indicate that the dzs technique may provide a highly valuable tool to address the technical challenges that will characterize the next generation of large-scale cosmological simulations.