Advances in visualization technologies are not only vital for the expression and creativity in Hollywood, they are also one of the necessary ingredients to catapult scientific innovations.  Without them, for example, astrophysicists such as myself and the team of scientists working on the Event Horizon Telescope cannot achieve our multi-billion dollar purpose — to understand and image the black hole at the center of our galaxy.

In my most recent paper, The Power of Imaging: Constraining the Plasma Properties of GRMHD Simulations using EHT Observations of Sgr A*, submitted to ApJ on October 9, 2014 and accepted without revisions on November 1, 2014, I demonstrate how an application of cutting edge imaging technologies can push the frontiers of science, literally, to the center of our galaxy (currently occupied by the 4 million solar mass black hole named Sgr A*).

The paper, which is featured in a press release on November 5, 2014, show-cased GRay, an open source, ultra-fast GPU-based, massive parallel general relativistic ray tracing algorithm written in CUDA, capable of calculating images over 100 times faster than traditional algorithms, and its application to the preliminary images collected from the Event Horizon Telescope.

 

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