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Thursday, May 08, 2008
NASA, Intel, SGI Plan: 10 Petaflops Supercomputer by 2012

NASA, Intel Corp., and SGI today announced the signing of an agreement establishing intentions to collaborate on significantly increasing the space agency's supercomputer performance and capacity.

Under the terms of a Space Act Agreement, NASA will work closely with Intel and SGI to increase computational capabilities for modeling and simulation at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

"Achieving such a monumental increase in performance will help fulfill NASA's increasing need for additional computing capacity and will enable us to provide the computational performance and capacity needed for future missions," said Ames Director S. Pete Worden. "This additional computational performance is necessary to help us achieve breakthrough scientific discoveries."

NASA Ames, Intel and SGI will work together on a project called Pleiades to develop a computational system with a capacity of one Petaflops peak performance (1,000 trillion operations per second) by 2009 and a system with a peak performance of 10 Petaflops (10,000 trillion operations per second) by 2012.

"Throughout its history, NASA has sought to explore the most compelling questions about mankind, Earth, and the worlds that await our discovery," said Robert "Bo" Ewald, chief executive officer of SGI. "SGI is proud to be part of this effort. These groundbreaking new systems powered by SGI and fueled by the latest multi-core Intel processors, offer a platform for new discoveries that will help us all achieve the most promising future for the human race. This effort is important to everyone on this planet."

This collaboration builds on the 2004 deployment of Columbia, which generated a tenfold increase in supercomputing capacity for the agency. Meeting NASA's future mission challenges will require additional computational resources to handle increasingly higher fidelity modeling and simulation. In 2009, NASA expects to increase that computing capability 16 times with the Pleiades project, and by an additional tenfold in 2012.

"Intel, working with SGI, is proud to play an important role in helping NASA expand the pursuit of scientific discovery," said Diane M. Bryant, vice president of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group and general manager of the Server Platforms Group. "Systems such as Pleiades challenge the imagination, and guide our exploration of Earth, space, and beyond. As we approach performance that was once thought impossible to achieve, our eyes are opened even wider to the vast possibilities enabled by supercomputing."

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