Machine Design

NASA takes supercomputing to the next level

A first-of-its-kind supercomputer has been installed at NASA Ames Research Center. Based on Linux OS, the 512-processor SGI Altix single-system image (SSI) supercomputer reached a Linpack Rmax rate of 2.45 teraflops and a Streams Triad rate of 1.007 terabytes/sec.

These are the fastest ratings ever for a shared-memory system.

The supercomputer is being used to predict ocean conditions for the Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean (Ecco) consortium. "Users typically see turnaround times of months for large ocean simulations," says Ames research scientist Bob Ciotti. "Dedicating half the machine to the Ecco project and scaling the code to run efficiently on all the processors may reduce that to a few days," he adds. The new Altix system is driven by Intel Itanium 2 processors and has a total memory of about 1 terabyte.

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