FASTPM: a new scheme for fast simulations of dark matter and haloes

Yu Feng, Man-Yat Chu, Uroš Seljak, and Patrick McDonald

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
August 24, 2016

The authors introduce FastPM, a highly scalable approximated particle mesh (PM) N-body solver, which implements the PM scheme enforcing correct linear displacement (1LPT) evolution via modified kick and drift factors. Employing a two-dimensional domain decomposing scheme, FastPM scales extremely well with a very large number of CPUs. In contrast to Comoving-Lagrangian (COLA) approach, the authors do not require to split the force or track separately the 2LPT solution, reducing the code complexity and memory requirements. The authors compare FastPM with different number of steps (Ns) and force resolution factor (B) against three benchmarks: halo mass function from friends-of-friends halo finder; halo and dark matter power spectrum; and cross-correlation coefficient (or stochasticity), relative to a high-resolution TreePM simulation. The authors show that the modified time stepping scheme reduces the halo stochasticity when compared to COLA with the same number of steps and force resolution. While increasing Ns and B improves the transfer function and cross-correlation coefficient, for many applications FastPM achieves sufficient accuracy at low Ns and B. For example, Ns = 10 and B = 2 simulation provides a substantial saving (a factor of 10) of computing time relative to Ns = 40, B = 3 simulation, yet the halo benchmarks are very similar at z = 0. The authors find that for abundance matched haloes the stochasticity remains low even for Ns = 5. FastPM compares well against less expensive schemes, being only 7 (4) times more expensive than 2LPT initial condition generator for Ns = 10 (Ns = 5). Some of the applications where FastPM can be useful are generating a large number of mocks, producing non-linear statistics where one varies a large number of nuisance or cosmological parameters, or serving as part of an initial conditions solver.

Featured Fellows

Yu Feng

Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics
BIDS Alum – Data Science Fellow