The Virgo Consortium for cosmological supercomputer simulations was founded in 1994 and has developed rapidly into the international collaboration that it is today. The Virgo Consortium has a core membership of about a dozen scientists in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, and Canada. The largest nodes are the Institute for Computational Cosmology in Durham, UK and the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany. The TAP group at the HITS is one of the nodes as well. Other nodes exist in Cambridge, Edinburgh, Nottingham and Sussex in the UK, and Leiden in the Netherlands. The science goals of Virgo are to carry out state-of-the-art cosmological simulations. The research areas include the large-scale distribution of dark matter, the formation of dark matter haloes, the formation and evolution of galaxies and clusters, the physics of the intergalactic medium and the properties of the intracluster gas.
Among the most well known projects of the Virgo Consortium are the Hubble Volume Simulation, the Millennium Simulation, the Millennium-II and Millennium-XXL Simulations, the Aquarius Project, the Aquila Code Comparison Project, and the Eagle Simulations.
The Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) was established in 2010 by the physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira (1940-2015) and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as a private, non-profit research institute. HITS conducts basic research in the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science, with a focus on the processing, structuring, and analyzing of large amounts of complex data and the development of computational methods and software. The research fields range from molecular biology to astrophysics. The shareholders of HITS are the HITS-Stiftung, which is a subsidiary of the Klaus Tschira Foundation, Heidelberg University and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). HITS also cooperates with other universities and research institutes and with industrial partners. The base funding of HITS is provided by the HITS Stiftung with funds received from the Klaus Tschira Foundation. The primary external funding agencies are the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the European Union.