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Silicon Graphics Wins Nod From NASA To Build Supercomputer

NASA has chosen Silicon Graphics Inc. to assemble a 500-terabyte supercomputer based on more than 10,000 Intel Itanium chips. The configuration, for applications in space exploration, global warming research, and aerospace engineering, will be one of the world's largest Linux-based supercomputers.

Called Project Columbia, NASA's Advanced Supercomputing Facility will experience a tenfold increase through the project. The integrated 512-processor SGI Altix systems--there will be 20 separate installations--will be called the Space Exploration Simulator.

In a statement, Silicon Graphics said of the partnership with Intel, "The present collaboration builds upon the highly successful eight-year partnership that last year developed the world's first 512-processor Linux server--based on standard, "off-the-shelf" microprocessor and open-source technology--the SGI Altix at NASA Ames Research Center named 'Kalpana' after Columbia astronaut and Ames alumna Kalpana Chawla."

SGI said it has delivered the first three Altix installations to the Ames Center. The complete 10,240 Intanium-based array is scheduled to be finished in coming months, the company said. Additional vendors participating in the assembly of the configuration include Brocade Communications, Engenio Information Technologies, Micron Technology, and Voltaire.