Black Holes in a Computer: garbage in, nothing out

Joshua Faber, Professor, SMS & Center for Computational Gravity and Relativity, RIT

Abstract

In this talk, I'll try to explain some of the basics of relativity, explaining how a theory based on simple, seemingly innocent statements like "The speed of light is measured to be the same by all observers" revolutionized our understanding of the universe. I'll introduce black holes, which are endlessly fascinating but extremely difficult to deal with in numerical settings. Thanks in large part to work done by several people now working at RIT, we've learned in the past few years how to overcome a number of difficulties, and can now crash them into each other at will on a computer without the computer itself crashing, producing predictions for important scientific instruments and cool movies to boot.