Press Release

NASA Showcases ‘Green’ Missions at SC09 Conference

By SpaceRef Editor
November 4, 2009
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NASA Showcases ‘Green’ Missions at SC09 Conference

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. – Five NASA centers join forces this month to showcase “green” science, engineering, and technology achievements at SC09, the leading international conference on high-performance computing, networking, storage, and analysis.

At this year’s SC09 conference, scheduled Nov. 14-20, 2009 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, the NASA exhibit features more than 45 demonstrations. Scientists will show how NASA is harnessing supercomputing power to better predict and understand the global influence of regional weather events, such as hurricanes, floods, and droughts. Also featured are demonstrations of NASA’s modeling approach to help reduce harmful emissions from aircraft gas turbine engines, visualizations of galaxy mergers to help explain the evolution of the universe, and simulations to help design NASA’s next-generation Ares V heavy-lift vehicle.

“Supercomputers play a critical role in NASA’s commitment to helping solve the important environmental issues we face today” said Rupak Biswas, acting chief of the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division at Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. “These powerful systems allow scientists and engineers to produce accurate simulations and realistic visualizations that would otherwise not be possible. Combined with satellite observations and experimental data, these simulations support the agency’s missions in science, aeronautics, exploration, and space operations.”

The high-end computing operations at both the NAS facility at Ames and the NASA Center for Computational Sciences (NCCS) at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., have recently been augmented to handle the ever-increasing need for computational resources, and in particular Earth science research.

In late October, NAS extended the Pleiades cluster with 9,216 cores (Intel Xeon 5500 series processors), which, along with architecture advances, will significantly improve the performance of many scientific codes. In September, NCCS added 8,192 cores to the Discover system, the first in a series of expansions dedicated to supporting climate research.

“Discover’s faster processors enable more accurate and timely projections of changes in the Earth’s environment,” said Phil Webster, NCCS project manager and chief of the Computational and Information Sciences and Technology Office at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “In support of climate science, Discover has been used to complete a re-analysis of 30 years of satellite observing system data to reconstruct a more accurate picture of the Earth’s climate and weather-NASA’s most ambitious re-analysis to date. In the next year, Discover will host climate simulation runs contributing to the next major Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report.”

This year’s SC09 theme focuses on the environment and sustainability. NASA’s Greenspace Initiative, led by Ames Research Center, supports environmental projects in aviation; global prediction monitoring and response; clean energy; and sustainable systems. In September, NASA Ames broke ground for what is expected to be the most environmentally friendly federal building ever. The agency’s Columbia, Discover, and Pleiades systems are among the most energy-efficient supercomputers in the world.

Demonstrations in NASA’s exhibit (booth #1947) represent work by researchers at five NASA field centers: Ames Research Center; Goddard Space Flight Center; Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio; Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.; and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., in addition to various NASA university and corporate partners.

For more information about the NASA’s SC09 exhibit, visit:

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

For more information on NASA’s Greenspace Initiative, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.