Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Faux-pas of the hilarious kind

"This is not what is known as an SPH calculation. This is a real hydrodynamical system."

And with that single sentence from our colloquium speaker today, my week was made.

For those who through incomprehensible reasons have not been reading my thesis as their bedtime story book, 'SPH' and 'AMR' are two rival techniques for simulating gas in astrophysics. The first represents the gas as a series of particles while the second maps it onto a grid. Because these implementations are extremely different and the computer codes large and cumbersome, most people learn only one technique and remain fiercely loyal to it throughout their careers. Yours truly is, as you might have guessed, an AMR grid coder or, as so beautifully put above, the coder of 'real hydrodynamical systems'. (^____^)

Okay, I admit, the guy misspoke and meant 'semi-analytic' (a technique in which a recipe for a process like galaxy formation is used, rather than following the actual event in the simulation) not 'SPH' but we all know it was a Freudian slip.


  1. Been dirtying my hands with this myself. All I want to do is a quick and dirty sim with no particular care if it's all that right, but it's blooming hard to figure your way to even starting a sim :S

    You lot have my sympathy, and I understand completely why you pick a technique and stick to it :)

  2. And you mine -- these codes were never designed for a quick-start basic use :\