A machine learning approach to mapping baryons on to dark matter haloes using the EAGLE and C-EAGLE simulations

Christopher Lovell, Stephen M. Wilkins, Peter A. Thomas, Matthieu Schaller, Carlton M. Baugh, Giulio Fabbian, Yannick Bahé

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High-resolution cosmological hydrodynamic simulations are currently limited to relatively small volumes due to their computational expense. However, much larger volumes are required to probe rare, overdense environments, and measure clustering statistics of the large-scale structure. Typically, zoom simulations of individual regions are used to study rare environments, and semi-analytic models and halo occupation models applied to dark-matter-only (DMO) simulations are used to study the Universe in the large-volume regime. We propose a new approach, using a machine learning framework, to explore the halo–galaxy relationship in the periodic EAGLE simulations, and zoom C-EAGLE simulations of galaxy clusters. We train a tree-based machine learning method to predict the baryonic properties of galaxies based on their host dark matter halo properties. The trained model successfully reproduces a number of key distribution functions for an infinitesimal fraction of the computational cost of a full hydrodynamic simulation. By training on both periodic simulations and zooms of overdense environments, we learn the bias of galaxy evolution in differing environments. This allows us to apply the trained model to a larger DMO volume than would be possible if we only trained on a periodic simulation. We demonstrate this application using the (800 Mpc)3 P-Millennium simulation, and present predictions for key baryonic distribution functions and clustering statistics from the EAGLE model in this large volume.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5046–5061
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date11 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


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