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Petascale numerical simulations of protoplanetary disks: setting the stage for planet formation

Final Report Summary - PETADISK (Petascale numerical simulations of protoplanetary disks: setting the stage for planet formation)

The PETADISK project was a project funded by the European Research Council. It aimed at studying the dynamical properties of the flow in protoplanetary (PP) disks, which are real nurseries of planetary systems like our own. During the project, the PETADISK team focused on the dynamics of the turbulent flow and its links with the gas thermodynamics. Both aspects are important as they shape the properties of PP disks and thereby strongly influence the properties of newly born planets.

In order to perform this research, the team extensively relied on numerical simulations by using the most up to date numerical codes and the most powerful supercomputers in Europe. Such scientific goals can only be achieved if the research is strongly tied to the evolution of high performance computing architectures. This is why we upgraded our codes so that they can be run on hybrid computers composed for example of graphic cards such as used by game players.

Our scientific achievements during the course of PETADISK project include the first global radiative MHD numerical simulations of a PP disks, thanks to which we performed a detailed investigation of PP disks inner parts, studying in particular the dynamics of vortices that develop at those locations and also the properties and observational imprints of MHD turbulence at the location where dust particles sublimates. We also performed high resolution idealized numerical simulation (with up to one billion volume elements) that demonstrated the MHD turbulence vigorously transport angular momentum outward in the inner parts of PP disks.