The Virgo Consortium for Cosmological Supercomputer Simulations was founded in 1994 in response to the UK's High Performance Computing Initiative. Virgo developed rapidly into the international collaboration that it is today. The Virgo Consortium has a core membership of 17 scientists in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, USA and China.
The Virgo core members belong to the following universities and institutes: UK - the universities of Durham, Edinburgh, Liverpool John Moores, Manchester, Nottingham and Sussex; Germany - the Institutes: MPA, Garching and HITS, Heidelberg; Netherlands - Leiden University; USA: Johns Hopkins University; Canada - McMaster, Queen's universities; China: NAOC, Beijing. At any given time, around 70 or so scientists, mostly PhD students and postdocs, are directly involved in aspects of the Virgo programme.
The science goals of Virgo are to carry out state-of-the-art cosmological simulations. The research areas include the large-scale distribution of dark matter, the formation of dark matter haloes, the formation and evolution of galaxies and clusters, the physics of the intergalactic medium and the properties of the intracluster gas.
Virgo has access to world class supercomputing resources in the UK and Germany. In the UK Virgo makes extensive use of COSMA4 and the Data centric facility (known collectively as COSMA) at Durham, the latter of which is part of the DiRAC-2 facility.