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Open Access Publications from the University of California

hi_class background evolution, initial conditions and approximation schemes


Cosmological datasets have great potential to elucidate the nature of dark energy and test gravity on the largest scales available to observation. Theoretical predictions can be computed with hi_class (, an accurate, fast and flexible code for linear cosmology, incorporating a wide range of dark energy theories and modifications to general relativity. We introduce three new functionalities into hi_class: (1) Support for models based on covariant Lagrangians, including a constraint-preserving integration scheme for the background evolution and a series of worked-out examples: Galileon, nKGB, quintessence (monomial, tracker) and Brans-Dicke. (2) Consistent initial conditions for the scalar-field perturbations in the deep radiation era, identifying the conditions under which modified-gravity isocurvature perturbations may grow faster than adiabatic modes leading to a loss of predictivity. (3) An automated quasi-static approximation scheme allowing order-of-magnitude improvement in computing performance without sacrificing accuracy for wide classes of models. These enhancements bring the treatment of dark energy and modified gravity models to the level of detail comparable to software tools restricted to standard ΛCDM cosmologies. The hi_class code is publicly available (, ready to explore current data and prepare for next-generation experiments.

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