Conference on Philosophical Aspects of Simulations in Cosmology

Philosophical Aspects of Simulation in Cosmology event image: abstract blue & purple light

Conference on Philosophical Aspects of Simulations in Cosmology

August 9-10, 2021, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm PDT (via Zoom)

Simulations have played an essential role in the advancement of astrophysics and cosmology in recent decades, and they will only grow more indispensable as astrophysicists pursue a deeper and more complex understanding of the highly nonlinear processes at the heart of galaxies, clusters, and the universe itself.  However, these methods do not come without challenges and costs.  This workshop will bring together physicists and philosophers to explore the epistemological and methodological issues raised by simulations.  The first day will focus on code comparisons:  What lessons can we draw from comparisons between different simulation codes, especially large-scale comparison projects such as AGORA and AQUILA?  What are the difficulties associated with comparing a diversity of complex simulations?  The second day will broadly focus on questions of model complexity: Given the limitations on our ability to test against complete analytic solutions, how do the variety of tests and methods available work together to warrant confidence in complex simulations?  To what extent do the highly nonlinear interactions between model components raise worries about “kludges” or other difficulties in diagnosing the sources of inaccuracies in simulation?




Claus Beisbart (University of Bern), Why trust cosmological simulations? A closer look from the V&V perspective
Alyson Brooks (Rutgers University), Panel Discussant
Marie Gueguen (University of Pittsburgh), A Tension Within Code Comparisons: Comparability or Diversity?
Desika Narayanan (University of Florida), Building a House of Cards: Developing a Quantitative Synergy between Theory and Observations
Santi Roca-Fabrega (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Comparison projects, the essential (but usually forgotten) step in computational astrophysics
Francisco Villaescusa-Navarro (Princeton University), Can we trust predictions from super-intelligent machines?
Rainer Weinberger (Harvard University), Uncertainties in cosmological simulations of galaxy formation

This event is made possible by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, to Chris Smeenk and Jim Weatherall.

Photo Credit: A. Owen