New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge

N-Body Simulation of Saturn's Ring Structure

Team: 58

School: Los Alamos High

Area of Science: Astrophysics


Interim: Problem Definition:
This project's goal is to simulate the effects Saturn's moons have on it's ring structure, such as the Huygen's Gap and the Cassini Division. This 3d simulation will be using Newton's laws of motion and gravity to move ring particles around Saturn. Velocity Verlet is currently being used to move the mass points. This simulation is focusing on a full N-Body approach, however due to the large scale of the problem, approximate methods such as nearest neighbor and tree algorithm are being investigated in order to improve calculation performance.

Problem Solution:
C, MPI, and OpenCL are the programming languages that are being used to run the programs. Full N-Body and Nearest Neighbor methods are being developed to improve performance on Mapache and GPU's such as the AMD 5850 and Nvidia GTX 580.

Progress to Date:
In the beginning of the challenge, a C version of the N-Body code was developed first, then I created an MPI and OpenCL version to parallelize the simulation. I have been using Mapache at LANL to help simulate the hundreds of thousands of particles in the ring. I am currently investigating the individual moon effects (primarily Mimas) on the ring particles to find which moon is responsible for which gap in the ring system.

Expected Result:
My simulation will hopefully model the Huygen's Gap, Cassini Division, and other observed ring features. My model will show that the 2:1 resonance with Mimas is creating the Huygen's Gap. I plan to include the effects of several other moons as well. I may also consider other objects such as an asteroid or comet passing through the ring system to show how they will effect the rings orbit and stability.


Team Members:

  Coleman Kendrick

Sponsoring Teacher: Brian Kendrick

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