A team of scientists at the University of Chicago will be using 22 million processor-hours to simulate the physics of exploding stars
. The team will make use of the Blue Gene/P supercomputer at Argonne National Laboratory to analyze four different scenarios for type Ia supernovae. Included in the link is a video simulation of a thermonuclear flame busting its way out of a white dwarf. The processing time was made possible by the Department of Energy's INCITE program
"Burning in a white dwarf can occur as a deflagration or as a detonation. 'Imagine a pool of gasoline and throw a match on it. That kind of burning across the pool of gasoline is a deflagration,' Jordan said. 'A detonation is simply if you were to light a stick of dynamite and allow it to explode.' In the Flash Center scenario, deflagration starts off-center of the star's core. The burning creates a hot bubble of less dense ash that pops out the side due to buoyancy, like a piece of Styrofoam submerged in water."