Zarija Lukić is a research scientist in the Computational Cosmology Center. He earned his astrophysics Ph.D. in 2008 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has been a postdoctoral researcher in the Theoretical Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory (2008-2011) and the Computational Research Division of Lawrence Berkeley Lab (2011-2013).
Zarija's research combines (astro)physics and high-performance computing. He has published research articles in both physics and computational science venues. The main topics of his research are the formation of the structure of the Universe and different ways of determining cosmological parameters from sky surveys. His studies involve modeling the Lyman-alpha absorption observed in spectra of distant quasars, the evolution and properties of clusters of galaxies, and the internal structure and statistical properties of dark matter halos, among topics.
He is a member of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) and Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) collaborations where he is engaged in simulation working groups.
An essential part of Zarija's research is finding new computational algorithms for modeling physical systems and building simulation codes that can efficiently run on the largest supercomputers. He was a contributor to the FLASH and HACC codes (two times Gordon Bell finalists) and is one of the core authors of the multi-physics Nyx code used for intergalactic medium studies. Over the past 15+ years, he has used many leading machines at different supercomputer centers, including NERSC, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), the Los Alamos Supercomputer Center and the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF). He has been the principal investigator (P.I.) and co-P.I. on some of the largest computing allocations in the U.S.
In addition to cosmology, Zarija's research also includes topics in applied nuclear physics. He has published research on the practical use of cosmic rays to identify materials and remotely diagnose the state of damaged reactor cores in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident.