Unexpected Results

The simulation ran for seven days on the new Massive Array of Complex Interconnected CPUs, a virtualized server configuration based on a cooperative framework from a consortium of supercomputer installations including Palo Alto, Tokyo, Sydney, MIT, and other cooperating installations, creating the largest, fastest supercomputer to date. The simulation programmed into Maxie (project name) was expected to approximate the beginning of the universe and run through a sequence to determine the inevitable endpoint in a Big Crunch in the event of a closed universe, or a Big Freeze when molecules have expanded beyond the constraints of gravity, or something in between. The project should have taken the better part of three months to run through a single iteration. The scientists poured through the data trying to determine why the simulation terminated earlier than predicted, but could find no flaw to account for the unexpected outcome. After months of debate, the team responsible for the project decided to scrap the results and decommission Maxie. No one could accept that the results proved the universe had ceased to exist over twelve billion years ago, contrary to all known cosmological models.

Screenshot from IMAX® 3D movie Hidden Universe showing the Helix Nebula in infrared