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Science - Computer Models
 
Astronomer use something called N-Body simulations to generate a computer model of things like galaxy simulations, dark matter simulations, stellar evolutions and so forth.

The idea behind these simulations are rather simple: create a set of parameters that is used to describe a single object within multiple objects, then program gravitational influences by equal objects, then repeat for remaining objects. Depending on the number of objects, the resulting computation can become prohibitively impossible to do without a computer.

Example: we know the mass and size of a hydrogen atom. We also know that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the Universe. If astronomers program a "cloud" of hydrogen atoms, they can simulate interactions between these atoms to determine the end result - like the birth of a star or the formation of galaxies.

Another example is to create theoretical particles to examine their interactions with known particles - like dark matter and its influence on galaxy formation.

My first N-body computation was to determine the stability of the Gliese 876 planetary system.

Here are some resources to explore computer simulations:

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