About the ARI
The Astronomisches Rechen-Institut (ARI) in Heidelberg belongs, together with the Landessternwarte Königstuhl (LSW) and the Institut für Theoretische Astrophysik (ITA), to the Zentrum für Astronomie (ZAH), founded in 2005, of the University of Heidelberg.
Core competences of ARI are astrometry, stellar dynamics, galaxy evolution, gravitational lensing and extrasolar planets as well as cosmology.
An additional focus are the development and operation of High-performance computers with special hardware as well as the development of "middle-ware" and databases in the framework of the D-Grid-Initiative and the virtual observatory.
The history of the ARI goes back to the issue of the calendar patent in 1700. Today, astronomical services (such as calendar data, almanacs and bibliographies) are still in the responsibility of the institute.
In parallel the worldwide first N-body simulations of stellar systems were performed at ARI in the beginning of the 1960th. Today the institute hosts a PC Beowulf cluster with special hardware accelerator cards (GRAPE and MPRACE). For selected applications (currently gravitational forces and smoothed particle hydrodynamics) it reaches a computing power comparable with the ten fastest computers in the world.