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Nov. 5, 2001

Michael Mewhinney

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Phone: 650/604-3937 or 650/604-9000



NASA’s cutting-edge research in high-performance computing and networking will be showcased at an upcoming seven-day conference in Denver.

SC2001, the Conference of High Performance Computing and Networking, will be held Nov. 10-16 at the Denver Convention Center. More than 5,000 participants are expected to attend the conference. This year’s theme, "Beyond Boundaries," reflects the global theme of linking the world in a fiber-optic network.

"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 of NASA’s Computing, Information and Communications Technology (CICT) 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-foot NASA exhibit will showcase more than 30 supercomputing demonstrations. Scientists from six NASA centers will feature a variety of real-time and interactive demonstrations of the latest research in computational applications serving NASA’s aerospace, Earth science, and space science missions, including remote collaboration and use of virtual reality; software tools for developing, debugging, converting, monitoring and optimizing code in grid environments; learning technologies, and high-end networking. A large collection of workstations, an interactive theater, and virtual reality devices will be used to display the research and encourage visitor interaction.

Among the features at NASA’s SC2001 exhibit will be a demonstration of a job scheduler that processes large numbers of engine simulations for the aviation safety program; a demonstration of a distributed/collaborative scientific tool called "growler;" and a series of high-definition data visualizations of Earth and space phenomena presented in the High Definition Television (HDTV) format.

One of the featured NASA exhibits will be a demonstration of aviation safety using the Numerical Propulsion System Simulations (NPSS) on NASA’s Information Power Grid (IPG). The goal of NASA’s Aviation Safety Program is to develop and demonstrate technologies that contribute to a reduction in aviation accident and fatality rates by a factor of 5 by year 2007 and by a factor of 10 by year 2022.

Large volumes of flight data are collected continuously by airport flight-tracking telemetry facilities. This data set consists of the radar tracks of all incoming and departing aircraft and could be processed to evaluate and track the engine performance of monitored aircraft. Data processing in this scenario is problematic in that it requires three basic elements: an engine simulation, high-end computing resources, and a job scheduler.

NASA’s Glenn Research Center has worked to provide a solution to this problem by developing a job scheduler that processes large numbers of engine simulations using the Numerical Propulsion System Simulations. Simulations are executed on the high-end computing resources made available by the NASA Information Power Grid. Further information is available at:

Another demonstration will feature the "growler" tool, a component-based framework for distributed/collaborative scientific visualization and computational steering. Developed at Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, the "growler" provides an infrastructure that allows various kinds of functional modules to be "wired" together to create distributed and collaborative scientific applications. The individual components can be local or remote -- that is, an application can be created on a single computer, or it can be distributed over a network.

Another NASA demo will feature High Definition Television (HDTV) visualizations of Earth and space science. As scientists rely more on simulations and observations to understand nature, they are confronted by massive amounts of data to sift through and analyze. With data volumes at billions, even trillions, of bytes, visualization enables scientists to see the physical processes at work.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has created high-definition data visualizations of Earth and space phenomena. Presented in the HDTV format, visualizations to be shown at SC2001 will include climate models probing the coupled ocean-land-atmosphere response to seasonal variability such as El Niño/La Niña; multi-year views of global ozone and plant life; a Mars terrain fly-over; and zoom-ins to several U.S. cities that seamlessly combine four data sets. Further information about this project is available at:

SC2001 is sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society. Further information about the conference is available at

More information about NASA high-performance computer technologies featured at SC2001 is available at

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