Speeding up N-body simulations of modified gravity: chameleon screening models

Sownak Bose, Baojiu Li, Alexandre Barreira, Jian-hua He, Wojciech Hellwing, Kazuya Koyama, Claudio Llinares, Gong-Bo Zhao

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We describe and demonstrate the potential of a new and very efficient method for simulating certain classes of modified gravity theories, such as the widely studied ƒ (R) gravity models. High resolution simulations for such models are currently very slow due to the highly nonlinear partial differential equation that needs to be solved exactly to predict the modified gravitational force. This nonlinearity is partly inherent, but is also exacerbated by the specific numerical algorithm used, which employs a variable redefinition to prevent numerical instabilities. The standard Newton-Gauss-Seidel iterative method used to tackle this problem has a poor convergence rate. Our new method not only avoids this, but also allows the discretised equation to be written in a form that is analytically solvable. We show that this new method greatly improves the performance and efficiency of ƒ (R) simulations. For example, a test simulation with 5123 particles in a box of size 512 Mpc/h is now 5 times faster than before, while a Millennium-resolution simulation for ƒ (R) gravity is estimated to be more than 20 times faster than with the old method. Our new implementation will be particularly useful for running very high resolution, large-sized simulations which, to date, are only possible for the standard model, and also makes it feasible to run large numbers of lower resolution simulations for covariance analyses. We hope that the method will bring us to a new era for precision cosmological tests of gravity.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Issue number02
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2017


  • cosmological simulations
  • dark matter simulations
  • modified gravity


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