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NASA Highlights Mission Advances at Supercomputing Conference
November 13, 2014

From our home planet to the far reaches of space, NASA will highlight science and engineering mission advances enabled by agency supercomputers at SC14, the international supercomputing conference, Nov. 16-21, 2014 in New Orleans.

Inside the NASA exhibit at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center at 900 Convention Center Boulevard, presenters will unveil on a 10-foot-wide hyperwall stunning new high-definition movies showing:

-- Unprecedented global maps of the ocean and sea-ice incorporating four years of observational data to address questions such as how our ocean takes up and releases heat;

-- A massive two-year “Nature Run” simulating Earth’s weather at local scales much finer than the highest-resolution global weather models that will help NASA design new satellite instruments;

-- Computational analysis supporting acoustic testing to ensure a safe lift-off for the Space Launch System, NASA’s next heavy-lift rocket for deep space exploration; and
-- The most realistic galaxy simulations ever produced, giving us a better understanding of cosmic mysteries including how dark matter behaves and how black holes evolve.

At SC14, NASA technology experts will also discuss upgrades to its two leading supercomputers. The NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS), located at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, is doubling the capability of its Discover supercomputer by installing SGI® Rackable® clusters using 14-core Intel E5-2697v3 (Haswell) processors--with a total of 47,040 new cores. By year’s end, Discover will have 62,400 cores and a peak performance of more than 2.6 quadrillion floating-point operations per second (petaflops). The new cores will primarily support NASA efforts to assess the credibility of downscaled climate projections, which use the results from global climate models to drive higher-resolution regional models.

The NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, is home to the Pleiades supercomputer, which supports the full spectrum of agency science and engineering missions. This fall, NAS expanded Pleiades to include the latest generation of SGI® ICE™ X systems using 12-core Intel Xeon E5-2680v3 (Haswell) processors--with a total of 25,920 new cores. After the expansion, Pleiades has 198,432 cores and a peak performance of nearly 4.5 petaflops.

The 35 demonstrations in NASA's exhibit at booth #2739 represent work by scientists, engineers, and technologists at seven NASA locations: Ames Research Center; Glenn Research Center, Cleveland; Goddard Space Flight Center; Headquarters, Washington, D.C.; Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California; Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia; and Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama; along with university and corporate partners.

In addition to the exhibit, NASA will co-lead SC’s inaugural “HPC Matters” plenary, with NAS Division Chief Piyush Mehrotra as a speaker, and agency staff will present at several technical program and workshop sessions.

Media attending SC14 who wish to schedule onsite interviews must contact Jill Dunbar of Ames by email at jill.a.dunbar@nasa.gov or by phone at 408-203-8048, or Jarrett Cohen of Goddard by email at jarrett.s.cohen@nasa.gov or by phone at 301-257-9595.

For more information about NASA's SC14 exhibit, visit:


For more information about NASA's high-end computing program, visit:


Text issued as Ames media advisory M14-073

Jill Dunbar

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. 




Jarrett Cohen 

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.



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Page Last Updated: November 13th, 2014
Page Editor: Jessica Culler