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Its an undertaking of literally galactic proportions. MilkyWayHome a project launched by Heidi Newberg Associate Professor of Physics Applied Physics and Astronomy is using the donated computer power of more than 45000 volunteers and the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing BOINC platform to create a highly accurate three-dimensional model of the Milky Way galaxy from data gathered during the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The project is pushing boundaries in computer science and astroinformatics with resulting calculations revealing the distribution of dark matter in galaxies how stars and galaxies are formed and how galactic disks are created. One aspect of the project studies how dwarf galaxies surrounding the Milky Way are pulled into the larger galaxy forming streams of stars called tidal tails. We are creating a simulation of a dwarf galaxy falling into the Milky Way We simulate gravity acting over billions of years on all the particles we see where those particles end up after several billion years and then we try to find the simulation that best matches the pattern we see in the sky said Professor Newberg. At one time being a theorist meant that you scribbled with a pen now we simulate and develop algorithms with a computer. To calculate the tidal streams of dwarf galaxies physicist Jake Bauer 15 worked with computer scientists to build an application called the n-body simulator. If you didnt understand physics you wouldnt necessarily know if the results you were getting made any sense so its important to have a physicist on the team of developers said Bauer now pursuing his doctorate in physics at Queens University in Kingston Ontario. There are a lot of things you just cant learn in the classroom. For instance in the research group the most valuable resource you have is other peoples experience something that cant be found in a textbook said Bauer. An experience like this helps you figure out if you like what you do while you still have time to decide. while you still have time to decide.time to decide. Modern Magellans JAKE BAUER 15 inventing solutions 34