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NASA Experts Showcase Science, Technology at Supercomputing Conference
November 13, 2013


Some of NASA's best and brightest will showcase more than 30 of the agency's exciting computational achievements at SC13, the international supercomputing conference, Nov. 17-22, 2013 in Denver.

Highlights include:

-- a summary of supercomputing-assisted science revelations made during NASA's Mars rover Curiosity's first year on the Red Planet;
-- the Kepler mission's new data-centric strategy for continuing the search for Earth-sized planets;
-- unique insights into the physical mechanisms underlying galaxy formation gained through high-resolution 3-D simulations; and
-- computational methods to improve the design of the Space Launch System (SLS) and next-generation launch pad.

Spectacular scientific visualizations from these and other NASA supercomputing applications will appear on a state-of-the art 10-foot-wide hyperwall display.

"NASA's supercomputing technologies and expertise are key to the success of many missions," said Rupak Biswas, deputy director of the Exploration Technology Directorate at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. "This includes expanding our knowledge of the ocean's role in climate change and the global carbon cycle, understanding how space weather affects technological systems on Earth, and improving the design of aircraft components to reduce the level of noise we are exposed to every day."

Each day at SC13 Biswas will present a talk on NASA's new studies to determine the potential for quantum computing to solve difficult problems of importance to the agency. A D-Wave Two™ quantum computer was installed last summer in Ames' NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility, which also houses the agency's most powerful supercomputer, Pleiades, an SGI ICE system used to support NASA science and engineering missions. Pleiades recently was expanded to include the newest generation of SGI® ICE™ X systems containing a total of 6,624 Intel® Xeon® E5-2680v2 (Ivy Bridge) processors (66,240 cores). The expanded system runs at a peak performance rate of 2.87 quadrillion computer operations per second (petaflops).

In addition to Pleiades, the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS), located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., upgraded its Discover supercomputer with the addition of an IBM iDataPlex cluster incorporating 960 Intel® Xeon® E5-2670 (Sandy Bridge) processors (7,680 cores). Discover now performs at 1.12 petaflops peak.

Using Discover, NASA completed its modeling contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I Fifth Assessment Report, released in September 2013. The SC13 exhibit hyperwall will show NASA-produced visualizations of possible 21st century temperature and precipitation pattern changes estimated by dozens of climate models for the IPCC report. Discover is currently hosting a NASA global atmospheric model's simulation of weather at 7.5-kilometer resolution for two years and 3.5-kilometer resolution for three months. This simulation is expected to generate approximately four petabytes of data.

Demonstrations in NASA's exhibit (booth #822), along with papers to be presented at numerous technical sessions, represent work by researchers at seven NASA field centers: NASA Ames; Glenn Research Center, Cleveland; NASA Goddard; Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif; Johnson Space Center, Houston; Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.; and Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., in addition to NASA university and corporate partners.

Media attending SC13 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 from Goddard by email at jarrett.s.cohen@nasa.gov or by phone at 301-257-9595.

For more information about NASA's exhibit at the SC13 conference, visit:


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


Text issued as Ames release 12-75AR

Jill Dunbar
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Jarrett Cohen
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Image Token: 
Visualization showing a face-on projection of gas density in the inner region of a simulated galaxy
Visualization showing a face-on projection of gas density in the inner 14-kiloparsec (kpc) region of a simulated galaxy with a velocity dispersion of 50 kilometers per second.
Image Credit: 
Taysun Kimm, Princeton University
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Page Last Updated: November 13th, 2013
Page Editor: Jessica Culler