A multiphysics and multiscale software environment for modeling astrophysical systems

Simon Portegies Zwart, Steve McMillan, Stefan Harfst, Derek Groen, Michiko Fujii, Breanndan O Nuallain, Evert Glebbeek, Douglas Heggie, James Lombardi, Piet Hut, Vangelis Angelou, Sambaran Banerjee, Houria Belkus, Tassos Fragos, John Fregeau, Evghenii Gaburov, Rob Izzard, Mario Juric, Stephen Justham, Andrea Sottoriva, Peter Teuben, Joris van Bever, Ofer Yaron, Marcel Zemp
University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
New Astronomy, Volume 14, Issue 4, p. 369-378, arXiv:0807.1996 [astro-ph] (12 Jul 2008)


   title={A multiphysics and multiscale software environment for modeling astrophysical systems},

   author={Portegies Zwart, S. and McMillan, S. and Harfst, S. and Groen, D. and Fujii, M. and Nuall{‘a}in, B.{‘O}. and Glebbeek, E. and Heggie, D. and Lombardi, J. and Hut, P. and others},

   journal={New Astronomy},








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We present MUSE, a software framework for combining existing computational tools for different astrophysical domains into a single multiphysics, multiscale application. MUSE facilitates the coupling of existing codes written in different languages by providing inter-language tools and by specifying an interface between each module and the framework that represents a balance between generality and computational efficiency. This approach allows scientists to use combinations of codes to solve highly-coupled problems without the need to write new codes for other domains or significantly alter their existing codes. MUSE currently incorporates the domains of stellar dynamics, stellar evolution and stellar hydrodynamics for studying generalized stellar systems. We have now reached a “Noah’s Ark” milestone, with (at least) two available numerical solvers for each domain. MUSE can treat multi-scale and multi-physics systems in which the time- and size-scales are well separated, like simulating the evolution of planetary systems, small stellar associations, dense stellar clusters, galaxies and galactic nuclei. In this paper we describe three examples calculated using MUSE: the merger of two galaxies, the merger of two evolving stars, and a hybrid N-body simulation. In addition, we demonstrate an implementation of MUSE on a distributed computer which may also include special-purpose hardware, such as GRAPEs or GPUs, to accelerate computations. The current MUSE code base is publicly available as open source at http://muse.li/
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