NASA's supercomputing power is about to blast off. The agency will team with SGI and Intel to create the Space Exploration Simulator, a new machine that will be based at the NASA Ames Research Center. As part of Project Columbia, NASA will integrate a cluster of 20 interconnected SGI Altix 512-processor systems for a total of 10,240 Itanium 2 processors. This means a tenfold increase in the agency's supercomputing capacity.
The agency hopes Project Columbia will revitalize its supercomputer capability through an integrated computing, visualization, and data-storage environment tailored to its goals. It comes in response to President Bush's directive to federal agencies and to the Office of Science and Technology Policy's High-End Computing Revitalization Task Force. Also, it addresses current supercomputer resource limitations that became apparent during the Columbia accident investigation and Space Shuttle return-to-flight activities.
A portion of the new system will be made available on a broad basis to the nation's science and engineering community. Two of its nodes became operational in July. The system should be completed in the next two months. For details, go to www.arc.nasa.gov.