Simulating intergalactic gas for DESI-like small scale Lymanα forest observations


Measurements of the Lyα forest based on large numbers of quasar spectra from sky surveys such as SDSS/eBOSS accurately probe the distribution of matter on small scales and thus provide important constraints on several ingredients of the cosmological model. A main summary statistic derived from those measurements is the one-dimensional power spectrum, P1D, of the Lyα absorption. However, model predictions for P1D rely on expensive hydrodynamical simulations of the intergalactic medium, which was the limiting factor in previous analyses. Datasets from upcoming surveys such as DESI will push observational accuracy near the 1%-level and probe even smaller scales. This observational push mandates even more accurate simulations as well as more careful exploration of parameter space. In this work we evaluate the robustness and accuracy of simulations and the statistical framework used to constrain cosmological parameters. We present a comparison between the grid-based simulation code Nyx and SPH-based code Gadget in the context of P1D. In addition, we perform resolution and box-size convergence tests using Nyx code. We use a Gaussian process emulation scheme to reduce the number of simulations required for exploration of parameter space without sacrificing the model accuracy. We demonstrate the ability to produce unbiased parameter constraints in an end-to-end inference test using mock eBOSS- and DESI-like data, and we advocate for the usage of adaptive sampling schemes as opposed to using a fixed Latin hypercube design.