Thursday, July 26, 2007

NASA Selects SGI to Provide Largest Shared-Memory System in the World

SGI Altix 4700 with 4TB Memory To Power NAS Technology Refresh Program
July 23, 2007: 09:00 AM EST

SUNNYVALE, Calif., July 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- SGI and NASA today announced that the agency has selected a record-setting SGI(R) Altix(R) supercomputer in its evaluation of next-generation technology to meet future high-performance computing (HPC) requirements. The system was acquired as part of NAS Technology Refresh (NTR), a four-phase procurement process that eventually will replace the Columbia supercomputer system, powered by SGI Altix.

NASA's new SGI Altix system is expected to be installed in August at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility at the Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. The new system will be the first supercomputer to operate 2,048 processor cores and 4TB of memory under a single copy of Linux(R) -- creating the largest Linux single system image (SSI) in the world. A larger SSI can accelerate scientific research by making all of the system's processors and memory available to solve a single problem, or several problems at once.

Driven by 1,024 Dual-Core Intel(R) Itanium(R) 2 processors, the new system will generate 13.1 TFLOPs of compute power. The system's dual-core processors allow more computing power per square foot, enabling NASA to pack more computing power into its supercomputing center. NASA also acquired an ultra-dense 240TB SGI(R) InfiniteStorage 10000 system to efficiently handle the massive data storage requirements.

The multi-faceted NTR evaluation includes assessments of supercomputer performance on a broad set of NASA applications, programmability and usability, ease of administration, reliability, and the quality of the partnership with the vendor in solving problems and advancing technology. The NAS facility technology upgrade effort used a comprehensive benchmark suite to characterize system performance on NASA-relevant applications and to measure job throughput for a workload in a complex HPC environment.

"Supercomputers play a critical role in many NASA missions, including new space vehicle design, global climate studies and astrophysics research," said Dr. Piyush Mehrotra, who leads the NAS applications group and is steering the technology upgrade effort. "We look forward to evaluating SGI's latest HPC offerings as part of our long-term technology refresh effort."

The SGI Altix architecture accommodates the broad range of the projects pursued by NASA scientists, whose work demands both cluster and shared-memory computing architectures. NAS supports scientists and engineers throughout the United States who work on projects such as designing spacecraft, improving weather and hurricane models, and understanding the behavior of the sun. Many NASA projects require large, complex calculations and sophisticated mathematical models that can be efficiently handled only by a supercomputer.

"NASA scientists already rely on SGI Altix systems for a range of research, from designing safer, more advanced spacecraft to understanding the long-term effects of climate change," said Robert "Bo" Ewald, CEO, SGI. "These researchers pursue work that is essential not only to the United States, but to the world at large. SGI looks forward to continuing to work with NASA as it seeks leading-edge HPC compute and data management solutions to meet its evolving needs."

SGI | Innovation for Results(TM)

SGI is a leader in high-performance computing. SGI delivers a complete range of high-performance server and storage solutions along with industry-leading professional services and support that enable its customers to overcome the challenges of complex data-intensive workflows and accelerate breakthrough discoveries, innovation and information transformation. SGI solutions help customers solve their computing challenges whether it's enhancing the quality of life through drug research, designing and manufacturing safer and more efficient cars and airplanes, studying global climate, providing technologies for homeland security and defense, or helping enterprises manage large data. With offices worldwide, the company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and can be found on the Web at

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