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[ascl:1810.001] galfast: Milky Way mock catalog generator

galfast generates catalogs for arbitrary, user-supplied Milky Way models, including empirically derived ones. The built-in model set is based on fits to SDSS stellar observations over 8000 deg2 of the sky and includes a three-dimensional dust distribution map. Because of the capability to use empirically derived models, galfast typically produces closer matches to the actual observed counts and color-magnitude diagrams. In particular, galfast-generated catalogs are used to derive the stellar component of “Universe Model” catalogs used by the LSST Project. A key distinguishing characteristic of galfast is its speed. Galfast uses the GPU (with kernels written in NVIDIA C/C++ for CUDA) to offload compute intensive model sampling computations to the GPU, enabling the generation of realistic catalogs to full LSST depth in hours (instead of days or weeks), making it possible to study proposed science cases with high precision.

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