A variety of cosmological observations provide strong evidence that the present content of the universe is dominated by an unknown invisible component, dubbed « Dark Energy », which accounts for roughly 70% of the total matter/energy budget.
Differently from other species such as Dark Matter and baryons, Dark Energy is characterized by exotic properties, which in the context of the Standard Cosmological paradigm are interpreted as having a negative pressure, thus suggesting that the cosmic expansion is currently undergoing an accelerating phase. Einstein’s Cosmological Constant (CC) provides a simple candidate for such phenomenon. Nevertheless, a physical understanding of CC remains hard to reconcile with its observational inferred value, indicating that the origin of Dark Energy may be of different nature. Whether a manifestation of a new matter field on cosmological scales, a different regime of gravity at very large distances or a cosmological contribution of quantum vacuum fluctuations, Dark Energy is still unexplained.
A hint may come directly from future observations. If the Dark Energy phenomenon is dynamical this may narrow the range of hypotheses. Such a dynamics may leave observational features not only on cosmic distance measurements, which are sensitive probes of the cosmic expansion, but also on the formation of cosmic structures. The goal of the DEUS project is to study the imprints that Dark Energy leaves on the distribution of matter in the universe over the course of its entire evolution, from early times to its present state. This is achieved through high performance cosmological N-body numerical simulations of Dark Energy models.