This article appeared in: The Use of Supercomputers in Stellar Dynamics , (Lecture Notes in Physics #267, Springer Verlag, 1987) p 193-198.


Piet Hut

The Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ 08540


Gerald J. Sussman

Dept. of Electrical Engeneering and Computer Science

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Campbridge, MA 02139


We outline new ways of using computers as scientific tools, introducing two concepts which go beyond traditional numerical simulations. On the level of software, we describe a "dynamicist's workbench", an environment to provide interactive support for setting up, executing and analyzing computational experiments. On the level of hardware, we discuss the concept of a "computational observatory", especially designed and manufactured for specific problems in stellar dynamics.

1. Introduction

2. A Dynamicist's Workbench

2.1 Beyond numerical simulation

2.2 An Example of an Interactive N-body Experiment

2.3 Analysis

3. A Computational Observatory