The Virgo Consortium


What is the Virgo Consortium?

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 an international grouping of scientists in the UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Canada, United States and Japan.

The science goals of Virgo are to carry out state-of-the-art cosmological simulations. The research areas include the evolution of the intergalactic medium, the formation and evolution of galaxies, galaxy clusters, large-scale structure, the formation of dark matter haloes and the large-scale distribution of dark matter.


Virgo has access to world class supercomputing resources in the UK and Germany. In the UK Virgo makes extensive use of the Data centric facility (known collectively as COSMA) at Durham, which is part of the DiRAC-2 facility. Furthermore, simulations were carried out by computers based at the Edinburgh parallel Computing Centre. In Germany the Virgo Consortium uses the Computing Centre of the Max-Planck Society in Garching.


The Virgo Consortium has a steering committee which consists of Carlos Frenk, Joop Schaye, Volker Spingel, Peter Thomas and Simon White.

At any given time, around 70 or so scientists, mostly PhD students and postdocs, are directly involved in aspects of the Virgo programme. Virgo core members currently belong to the following universities and institutes:

Canada - University of Victoria.

Chile - University of La Serena.

China - NAOC, Beijing.

Finland - University of Helsinki.

Germany - The institutes: MPA, Garching and AIP, Potsdam.

Netherlands - University of Leiden.

UK - The universities of: Durham, Liverpool John Moores, Manchester, Nottingham and Sussex.

USA - Johns Hopkins University and University of California Riverside.