Katrin Heitmann

Exploring the Dark Universe

Cosmology -- the study of the origin, evolution, and constituents of the Universe -- is now entering one of its most scientifically exciting phases. Three decades of surveying the sky have culminated in the celebrated ``Cosmological Standard Model''. Yet, two of its key pillars, dark matter and dark energy -- together accounting for 95% of the mass-energy of the Universe -- remain mysterious. Next-generation observatories will open new routes to understand the true nature of the ``Dark Universe''. These observations will pose tremendous challenges on many fronts – from the sheer size of the data that will be collected (more than a hundred Petabytes) to its modeling and interpretation. The interpretation of the data requires sophisticated simulations on the world's largest supercomputers. The cost of these simulations, the uncertainties in our modeling abilities, and the fact that we have only one Universe that we can observe opposed to carrying out controlled experiments, all come together to create a major test for statistical methods of
data analysis.

In this talk I will give a very brief introduction to the Dark Universe and outline the challenges ahead. I will discuss an ambitious end-to-end simulation project that attempts to provide a faithful view of the Universe as seen through a telescope that is currently under construction, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. Then I will describe how complex, large-scale simulations will be used in order to extract the cosmological information from ongoing and next-generation surveys.