Day: December 11, 2008

Quintessential Nothingness

At Palisade we tend to associate Monte Carlo simulation with analyses of real-world stuff–oil, cash, stocks, all the things our customers need to anticipate.  So we’re well aware that Monte Carlo software is used on a daily basis to accomplish such mundane tasks as production forecasting and reserve estimation .  

Usually it’s all about the material world.  That’s why I was intrigued to note a recent Ars Technica article the most immaterial thing in the Universe, a black hole.  Since 1995 a team  of scientists at Keck Observatory on top of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii have been “imaging” the center of the galaxy in the area of the constellation Sagittarius.  Now they have announced that they have put their observations of a star tracking through this black hole into a Monte Carlo simulation to measure and weigh this quintessential nothingness.

The results of their simulation runs are, of course, hardly immaterial.