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Michael Mewhinney/Jill Dunbar
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Phone: 650-604-3937/3534

Nov. 6, 2007
NASA Science, Engineering Featured at Supercomputing Conference
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. – NASA will showcase some of its most inspiring science and engineering achievements at Supercomputing 2007, the International Conference for High-Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis (SC07) at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, Reno, Nevada, Nov. 10-16, 2007.

This year’s conference is expected to attract more than 7,000 participants from around the world, representing industry, academia, and government agencies. Participants will see 40 presentations and demonstrations covering research projects supporting some of NASA’s most critical mission work. Featured are presentations on how NASA uses high-fidelity computational and experimental data to determine safe re-entry and landing of the space shuttle, as well as how NASA simulations assess design safety aspects of the next-generation Orion crew exploration vehicle and Ares I crew launch vehicle. Also featured are studies of planet formation, stars, and black holes — all made possible by the agency’s powerful high-end computing resources.

“NASA high-end computers are enabling simulations of the Earth’s weather and climate with ever-increasing detail,” said Phil Webster, chief of the Computational and Information Sciences and Technology Office at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “Among this year’s highlights, a NASA computer model simulated climate from 1880 through the present, and made projections of 21st century climate.”

Webster will show a selection of model results on the nine-screen “mini-hyperwall,” a traveling version of NASA’s 49-screen hyperwall visualization tool. Model simulations generated using a NASA Center for Computational Sciences supercomputer helped support the most recent assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), co-recipient of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

NASA’s exhibit booth will also feature simulations produced by the Data-Parallel Line Relaxation code, developed at Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. The code helps predict the heating environment encountered by high-speed re-entry of space-bound vehicles such as the space shuttle orbiter, the next-generation Orion crew capsule, and the Mars Science Laboratory.

“Supercomputing resources are critical to mission success and that is why the agency has invested in additional systems to augment the Columbia supercomputer,” said Rupak Biswas, acting chief of the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division at NASA Ames. The computational infrastructure at Ames, which includes the 10,240-processor Columbia system, was recently expanded to include a 4,096-processor SGI® Altix® ICE cluster, a 2,048-processor single-system image SGI® Altix® 4700 system, and a 640-processor IBM® POWER5+™.

In addition to supercomputing and data storage resources, the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division provides a host of valuable integrated services to support key agency missions.

“NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division researchers have developed time-accurate computational simulations to analyze the effects of exhaust plumes from the space shuttle and the upcoming Ares I crew launch vehicle on the flame trench below the launch pad. These simulations involve modeling extremely complex geometry, and are vital to ensuring the safe launch of next-generation space vehicles,” Biswas explained. Visitors will have the opportunity to get a first-hand look at the flame trench simulations and talk with NASA scientists involved in this work.

NASA’s exhibit represents work supporting all four of the agency’s mission directorates—aeronautics, exploration systems, science, and space operations. This work is conducted by researchers at seven NASA field centers: Ames Research Center; Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.; Glenn Research Center, Cleveland; Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.; Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.; the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; and Johnson Space Center, Houston — in addition to various agency research partners. The conference is sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and by the Association for Computing Machinery.

For more information about the conference, please visit:

For information about NASA’s High-End Computing Program, please visit:

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