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Interview: Computational astrophysics with the yt project

[ Thanks to Edwood
Ocasio
for this link. ]

“Britton: The simulation code that I use is one of many in
existence. Despite the significant overlap in the areas of research
associated with these codes, each tend to have their own separate
communities of users and developers, their own files formats, and
their own analysis tools. This has traditionally made any sort of
cross-code research very difficult, or at least inconvenient.

“The primary goal of the yt Project is to provide a common
language for computational astrophysicists everywhere, regardless
of the simulation code they use. The main component of the yt
Project is the yt analysis toolkit, which is an open-source package
for analyzing and visualizing astrophysical simulation data. In
this package, we have attempted to incorporate all analysis
functionality common to most environments. This includes slices,
projections, volume renders, contour finding, multi-dimensional
profiling, halo finding, and many other things. While working on a
research project, we often need to create new pieces of analysis.
When this happens, we do our best to add this to yt’s capabilities
so that the next person who wants to do something similar won’t
have to reinvent the wheel. Our goal is to make every yt user a yt
developer.

“While the feature list of yt is certainly a strength, a
potentially greater strength is its ability to work with many
different simulation codes. Currently, yt supports eight different
codes. With yt, simulation data from any code looks virtually the
same once it is in memory. As such, the main challenge for adding
support to another code is reading the file format properly. When
someone comes to us from an unsupported code, we do our best to
work with them to build the necessary components and get them
involved in the community. The odds are that they will bring with
them functionality and ideas from their own corner that then will
help make yt better for everyone, and that is the whole point.”

Complete
Story