Blood vessel simulation aids discovery

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A team of scientists from Brown University and the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are using the lab's supercomputer in an attempt to map out the movements of red blood cells within blood vessels. One part of the study is mapping exactly how these blood cells move through the brain, and last year the team used similar modelling to discover that the malaria parasite makes its victims' red blood cells 50 times stiffer than normal. Capable of 500 trillion calculations per second, Argonne's Blue Gene/P supercomputer, housed at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), is being used for the study.

‘Previous computer models haven't been able to account accurately for, say, the motion of the blood cells bending or buckling as they ricochet off the walls,’ said Joe Insley, a principal software developer at Argonne who is working with the team. ‘This simulation is powerful enough to incorporate that extra level of detail.’

A simulation of the blood flow can be seen here