NASA supercomputer gets an upgrade

NASA has just upgraded a key supercomputer in California to give it more power for research, making it the most powerful...

NASA has just upgraded a key supercomputer in California to give it more power for research, making it the most powerful high-performance computing system used by NASA scientists to date.

NASA's 1,024-processor SGI Origin 3800 shared-memory supercomputer, located at the Ames Research Center, which was built by Silicon Graphics, received 1,024 MIPS R14000A microprocessors running at 600 MHz, replacing microprocessors that ran at 400 MHz.

The new processors will push the supercomputer's processing power from 819.2 billion floating-point operations per second (Gflops) to 1,228.8 Gflops of theoretical peak speed, according to John Ziebarth, chief of NASA's Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division at Ames.

NAS is working to build and test NASA's global Information Power Grid (IPG), which includes supercomputers, large databases and scientific instruments, and allows access by researchers to high-performance computing resources. Part of a joint effort among government, academia and industry, the IPG will help NASA scientists collaborate on a variety of issues.

Ziebarth said the more powerful processors in the Ames supercomputer would allow researchers "to tackle some very big data problems in new ways".

The research includes aeronautics, earth sciences and life sciences and is being conducted by professionals in the government, defence, science and manufacturing markets.

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