Prof Davé is the SARChI Chair at the University of Western Cape. He uses high-performance supercomputers to model the formation and evolution of galaxies and intergalactic gas from the Big Bang until today. Galaxies are exceptionally complex systems, hence such models must include the effects of cosmology and large-scale structure growth, accurate hydrodynamics, star formation, black holes, chemical evolution, feedback processes from supernovae and active nuclei, and in some cases radiation transport and magnetic fields.
Moreover, galaxies evolve in a cosmic ecosystem with their surrounding intergalactic gas, exchanging mass and energy in a way that crucially regulates their growth. Understanding the dynamical interplay between all these processes requires supercomputer simulations, through which we hope to elucidate the physics that shapes the objects that we observe through our telescopes across all wavebands from gamma rays to radio. Such simulations produce enormous volumes of data that must be stored, analysed, and disseminated in order to maximize their scientific value to the community. By combining simulations with advancing observations from MeerKAT and other telescopes, we hope to eventually to produce a true-to-life movie of the evolution of the observable Universe from the Big Bang until today.