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Nov. 2, 2000

John Bluck

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

Phone: 650/604-5026, 650/604-9000

jbluck@mail.arc.nasa.gov


RELEASE: 00-74AR

SCIENTISTS PEER INTO THE FUTURE VIA SUPERCOMPUTER SIMULATIONS

From simulations of tiny molecular structures to visions of supernovae millions of times bigger than Earth, NASA computer scientists will demonstrate supercomputing tools and innovations at an upcoming conference in Dallas.

Visitors can view these futuristic feats and virtual worlds, as well as other supercomputer advancements at NASA's exhibit during the SC2000 High Performance Computing Conference, Nov. 4 -10 at the Dallas Convention Center.

"High-performance computing and networking are critical to NASA's quest to expand frontiers on the Earth, in the air and in space," said Dr. Eugene Tu, manager for NASA's High Performance Computing and Communications program at NASA's Ames Research Center, located in California's Silicon Valley. "From improving our understanding of observational Earth and space data, to incredible computational models of revolutionary aerospace vehicles, our planet, and even distant stars, high performance computing is absolutely critical to advancing our knowledge."

The 50-by-50 ft. NASA exhibit will showcase more than 30 supercomputing demonstrations for an expected 5,000 visitors. Scientists and engineers from Ames and four other NASA centers will demonstrate and explain their latest computer simulations. They range from medical and geographical imaging, to advanced human-machine interfaces, aerospace vehicles, supernovae and new learning technologies. A variety of collaborative-environment technologies that allow scientists and engineers to develop new procedures and improve existing ones also will be on display.

One demonstration will show how NASA Ames scientists used supercomputer simulations to help improve the NASA/DeBakey miniature heart assist pump, leading to human trials with patients awaiting heart transplants. The experts suggested improvements after simulating blood flow through the pump using a NASA computer that normally models airflow around aircraft.

"Travelwulf," a five-processor supercomputer that fits within a suitcase, will be on display to illustrate a system that scientists without extensive computer experience can use to develop complex simulations and data processing. Under development by Clemson University, Clemson, SC, Travelwulf is part of the "Beowulf" system of remote sensing. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, and its partners are developing Beowulf to help scientists analyze an immense amount of Earth satellite images, and other data.

More efficient analysis of Earth science data will help researchers better understand problems related to ocean-atmosphere interactions, the weather and environmental changes.

"These problems typically exceed the capabilities of traditional computer workstations. In the past, these studies have required expensive supercomputers to process data and execute simulation models," said Walt Ligon, who leads Beowulf efforts at Clemson University. "Beowulf systems have made high-performance computing power affordable for individual science teams."

Also on display will be a simulation of an aircraft engine combustor with a design that will reduce nitrogen-oxide emissions by 50 percent initially, according to engineers. They expect engines with this technology to enter service by 2002. The simulation tool is part of the national combustor code, a joint government-industry effort. NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, is presenting this simulation.

Complete exhibit information and links to related materials are available at the SC2000 High Performance Networking and Computing Conference website at:

http://www.sc2000.org

NASA's SC2000 website includes high resolution images, and is located at:

http://www.nas.nasa.gov/SC2000

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