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This work describes the Plasma Simulation Code (psc), an explicit, electromagnetic particle-in-cell code with support for different order particle shape functions. We review the basic components of the particle-in-cell method as well as the computational architecture of the psc code that allows support for modular algorithms and data structure in the code. We then describe and analyze in detail a distinguishing feature of psc: patch-based load balancing using space-filling curves which is showndoi:10.1016/j.jcp.2016.05.013 fatcat:kkoik3qiefgdva5hstcmnq7dgu