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THE FLASH CODE AT INAF/OAPa

The Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo was one of the test sites for the very accurate FLASH code, a 3-dimensional astrophysical hydrodynamic code for supercomputers mainly developed at the "Flash Center", the University of Chicago.

Palermo was the test site in which FLASH has been ported to Compaq architectures. The FLASH code solves the compressible Euler equations on a block-structured adaptive mesh, and its modular design permits the introduction of additional physics and of different solvers.

The Palermo team has collaborated with the Flash Center to upgrade FLASH and applies extensively the code to astrophysical systems.

The group in Palermo also develops new modules for FLASH which extend the field of applicability of the code to other problems in astrophysics, from solar and stellar coronae, to supernova remnants, and to galaxy clusters halos. In particular, the new modules so far developed and tested include:

  1. the non-equilibrium ionization effects of the most abundant elements in astrophysical plasmas
  2. the thermal conduction according to the formulation of Spitzer (1962)
  3. the radiative losses from an optically thin plasma according to the Raymond spectral code and Peres et al. (1982) for the chromosphere.
  4. the viscosity according to the formulation of Spitzer (1962)

In this project, the Palermo team takes advantage of its long experience in developing hydrodynamic codes for modeling astrophysical plasma and in optimizing the codes for efficient parallel execution on high performance computers. The group uses the computational resources at CINECA (Bologna, Italy). Also INAF/OAPa is part of a consortium (Consorzio COMETA) which has been recently funded to set up an advanced computational facility in Sicily; a large HPC system will be available in Palermo (at the end of this year) to which INAF/OAPa have full access.