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For release: May 29, 1996

Ann C. Gaudreaux
(804) 864-8150

Mardi Larson, Cray Research

(612) 683-3538

RELEASE NO. 96-040


NASA Langley CRAY-2 Supercomputer to Be Exhibited at Virginia Air and Space Center

The CRAY-2 supercomputer, used for nearly a decade to simulate flight for hundreds of research aircraft at NASA’s Langley Research Center, will now be housed at the Virginia Air and Space Center for public display.

The move to the downtown Hampton museum is set for Thursday, May 30.

“The Virginia Air and Space Center is excited to be able to display and interpret the supercomputer that has contributed to the advancement of aeronautics and space research at NASA Langley,” said Kim Maher, Virginia Air and Space Center CEO and executive director.

The machine was manufactured by worldwide supercomputer leader Cray Research, Eagan, Minn. and was one of the most powerful computers in the world when it was installed in 1988. The CRAY-2 has been replaced with one of the latest supercomputer systems from Cray Research, which is even more powerful and more cost-effective.

The computer, named “Voyager” by researchers at NASA Langley, will be displayed at the Virginia Air and Space Center, which plans to build an exhibit around the computer. Cray Research is donating additional exhibitry to the display as well as covering moving costs for the May 30 event. The exhibit is expected to be ready for visitors by early Fall.

The CRAY-2 has more memory than several hundred personal computers and

an aggregate speed of more than 1,000 personal computers. It has been used at NASA

Langley to simulate aerodynamic flow over flight vehicles, to predict certain chemical reactions, to analyze and predict the flow within rocket engines, to simulate the atmospheres of other planets and to predict galactic collisions and interactions in space.

Voyager consists of a mainframe containing four processors and a billion-byte memory, disk storage and its own liquid-immersion cooling system. The large billion-byte central memory could hold 10 full sets of the World Book Encyclopedia and, using its incredible speed, read all that information in a single second.

Computationally, it can achieve up to one billion arithmetic operations per second – called one gigaflop in the language of supercomputers. How fast is a gigaflop? At that rate, Voyager can sum up the Social Security numbers of all U.S. citizens in less than 1/4 second. In less than one day, Voyager can do all the computing that was done at NASA Langley during the entire year 1970.

The Virginia Air and Space Center is NASA Langley’s official visitor center. It is located at 600 Settler’s Landing Road in downtown Hampton. It includes interactive exhibits on aeronautics and space as well as Virginia history. The museum houses an IMAX® theater and offers special programs for children and adults.

Cray Research, a subsidiary of Silicon Graphics, Inc., provides the leading supercomputing tools and services to help solve customers’ most challenging problems.

Photos, b-roll and interviews are available. For more information, please contact Ann Gaudreaux, NASA Langley Research Center Office of Public Affairs, at 864-8150.

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