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Published June 7, 2012 | public
Journal Article

The Einstein Toolkit: a community computational infrastructure for relativistic astrophysics


We describe the Einstein Toolkit, a community-driven, freely accessible computational infrastructure intended for use in numerical relativity, relativistic astrophysics, and other applications. The toolkit, developed by a collaboration involving researchers from multiple institutions around the world, combines a core set of components needed to simulate astrophysical objects such as black holes, compact objects, and collapsing stars, as well as a full suite of analysis tools. The Einstein Toolkit is currently based on the Cactus framework for high-performance computing and the Carpet adaptive mesh refinement driver. It implements spacetime evolution via the BSSN evolution system and general relativistic hydrodynamics in a finite-volume discretization. The toolkit is under continuous development and contains many new code components that have been publicly released for the first time and are described in this paper. We discuss the motivation behind the release of the toolkit, the philosophy underlying its development, and the goals of the project. A summary of the implemented numerical techniques is included, as are results of numerical test covering a variety of sample astrophysical problems.

Additional Information

© 2012 Institute of Physics. Received 28 November 2011, in final form 16 April 2012. Published 8 May 2012. The authors wish to thank Ed Seidel whose inspiration and vision has driven work toward the Einstein Toolkit over the past 15 years. The authors are also grateful to the large number of people who contributed to the Einstein Toolkit via ideas, code, documentation, and testing; without these contributions, this toolkit would not exist today. The authors thank their referees for their diligence and their many helpful suggestions. The Einstein Toolkit is directly supported by the National Science Foundation in the USA under the grant nos 0903973/0903782/0904015 (CIGR). Related grants contribute directly and indirectly to the success of CIGR, including NSF OCI-0721915, NSF OCI-0725070, NSF OCI-0832606, NSF OCI-0905046, NSF OCI-0941653, NSF AST-0855535, NSF DMS-0820923, NASA 08-ATFP08-0093, EC-FP7 PIRG05-GA-2009-249290 and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft grant SFB/Transregio 7 'Gravitational-Wave Astronomy'. Results presented in this paper were obtained through computations on the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative under allocation loni_cactus05 and loni_numrel07, as well as on NSF XSEDE under allocations TG-MCA02N014, TG-PHY060027N, TG-PHY100033, at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), which is supported by the Office of Science of the US Department of Energy under contract DE-AC03-76SF00098, at the Leibniz Rechenzentrum of the Max Planck Society, and on Compute Canada resources via project cfz-411-aa. GA acknowledges that this material is based upon work supported while serving at the National Science Foundation. Any opinion, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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