SGI to Supply NASA&aposs Next Major Supercomputer

SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- NASA has chosen SGI (Nasdaq: SGIC) to supply its next major supercomputer, a 20,480-core SGI(R) Altix(R) ICE system, after a competitive evaluation the space agency launched last year.

SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — NASA has chosen SGI (Nasdaq: SGIC) to supply its next major supercomputer, a 20,480-core SGI(R) Altix(R) ICE system, after a competitive evaluation the space agency launched last year.

The new SGI(R) system, to be installed this summer in the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility at Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, presents vast new opportunities for scientists and engineers who are attempting to tackle some of the largest and most complex problems in history. The supercomputer will be capable of generating 245 trillion operations per second (Teraflops).

NASA's plan to resume manned missions to the moon — and eventually manned exploration of Mars — is one of the chief reasons for securing a new, exceptionally powerful computing resource. In addition to space exploration, the new SGI supercomputer will support NASA's aeronautics, science and space operations initiatives.

Powered by the latest Quad-Core Intel(R) Xeon(R) processors, the new supercomputer will feature more than 20,800 Gigabytes (GB) of system memory — equal to the memory found in 10,000 of today's desktop PCs. NASA also will deploy a next-generation SGI(R) InfiniteStorage InfiniBand disk solution capable of storing and managing 450 Terabytes (TB) of data — an amount five times larger than the entire print collection of the Library of Congress. The installation also includes a 115TB SGI(R) InfiniteStorage NEXIS Network Attached Storage solution.

The system will augment NASA's Columbia supercomputer, an SGI(R) Altix(R) system that, when it was installed in 2004, made history as the most powerful supercomputer in the world. Since then, Columbia has enabled a wide range of breakthroughs, including the preliminary design of a new launch vehicle that someday will carry astronauts back into space, weather models capable of predicting a hurricane's path up to five days before landfall, and a visualization of gravitational waves created by two colliding black holes.

"NASA's four mission directorates face computing challenges of unprecedented complexity, and these challenges present unique, even monumental compute requirements," said Dr. Rupak Biswas, acting chief of the NAS Division. "Just as Columbia has helped NASA achieve breakthroughs that were previously impossible, this new supercomputer will enable NASA to continue tapping the far limits of science and innovation."

"SGI is proud to supply NASA with its next supercomputer — a system that will allow NASA to maintain its pioneering leadership in supercomputing," said SGI CEO Robert "Bo" Ewald. "This new SGI Altix ICE system will help the agency carry humankind further into space, better understand the future that awaits our planet, and improve the quality of life for people around the world. We are delighted to extend our collaboration with NASA — a collaboration that began 25 years ago when NASA became SGI's first customer — as the agency embarks on its most exciting missions yet."

"Every day NASA makes history, forging a new path in the journey to understand the world and its place in the universe," said Diane M. Bryant, vice president of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group and general manager or Server Platforms Group. "Working with SGI, Intel has ensured that our leading-edge processor architectures serve as the essential engine in creating history. It is exciting to imagine the breakthroughs this remarkable new system will enable, and what those discoveries will mean for all of us."

NASA's new Altix ICE system will be built from highly integrated blades enclosed in 40 racks, each equipped with 512 processor cores and 512GB of memory. Energy-smart and space-efficient, the dense, water-cooled SGI Altix ICE system will allow NASA to minimize its impact on the data center — in terms of space, energy use and cooling costs. Cost savings aren't the only benefit: Compared to a typical server, a 10TFLOP SGI Altix ICE system can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 293 metric tons every year — the environmental equivalent of pulling 53 passenger vehicles off the road(1).

The new system complements Columbia because it is especially suited to running applications that decompose into chunks that can be distributed across a supercomputer's many compute nodes, and a fast InfiniBand connection between those nodes guarantees high bandwidth and low latencies. Columbia is a shared-memory system, which means it can apply more memory to a single application and is optimized for problems that benefit most from SGI(R) NUMAlink(TM), the lowest latency interconnect in the industry. For this reason, both of NASA's SGI supercomputers may be used for a single project, depending on researchers' needs and application requirements.

When it is installed, NASA's new supercomputer will be one of the largest SGI Altix ICE systems ever deployed, joining the State of New Mexico's Encanto, a 14,336-core SGI Altix ICE system currently ranked as the third most powerful supercomputer in the world. The new NASA system will run Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10.

For more information on the SGI Altix ICE integrated blade platform, http://www.sgi.com/products/servers/altix/ice/. For information on SGI InfiniteStorage solutions, visit: http://www.sgi.com/products/storage/.

SGI | Innovation for Results(TM)

SGI (NASDAQ: SGIC) is a leader in high-performance computing. SGI delivers a broad range of high-performance server, storage and visualization solutions along with industry-leading professional services and support that enable its customers to overcome the challenges of complex data-intensive workflows and accelerate breakthrough discoveries, innovation and information transformation. SGI helps customers solve significant challenges whether it's enhancing the quality of life through drug research, designing and manufacturing safer and more efficient cars and airplanes, studying global climate change, providing technologies for homeland security and defense, or helping enterprises manage large data. With offices worldwide, the company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and can be found on the Web at sgi.com.

(C) 2008 SGI. All rights reserved. SGI, the SGI cube, Altix and the SGI logo are registered trademarks, and NUMAlink is a trademark, of SGI in the United States and/or other countries worldwide. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.


(1) Emission Facts: Greenhouse Gas Emissions from a Typical Passenger Vehicle" (EPA420-F-05-004 February 2005). Accessed April 29, 2008 at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/420f05004.htm

This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding SGI technologies and third-party technologies that are subject to risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in such statements. The reader is cautioned not to rely unduly on these forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of future or current performance. Such risks and uncertainties include long-term program commitments, the performance of third parties, the sustained performance of current and future products, financing risks, the ability to integrate and support a complex technology solution involving multiple providers and users, and other risks detailed from time to time in the company's most recent SEC reports, including its reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q.

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