NASA's Pleiades supercomputer gets a little more oomph

Jun 20, 2012

NASA's flagship Pleiades supercomputer just received a boost to help keep pace with the intensive number-crunching requirements of scientists and engineers working on some of the agency's most challenging missions.

Pleiades is critical for the modeling, simulation and analysis of a diverse set of agency projects in aeronautics research, Earth and space sciences and the design and operation of future space exploration vehicles. The supercomputer is located at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility at Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

An expansion completed earlier this month has increased Pleiades' sustained performance rate by 14 percent to 1.24 -- or a quadrillion calculations per second. To put this enormous number into perspective, if everyone in the world did one calculation per second for eight hours a day, it would take about 370 days to complete what this can calculate in 60 seconds.

"As we move toward NASA's next phase in advanced computing, Pleiades must be able to handle the increasing requirements of more than 1,200 users across the country who rely on the system to perform their large, complex calculations," said Rupak Biswas, chief of the NAS division at Ames. "Right now, for example, the system is being used to improve our understanding of how and other can affect critical technologies on Earth. Pleiades also plays a key role in producing high-fidelity simulations used for possible vehicle designs such as NASA's upcoming Space ."

Since Pleiades' installation in 2008, NAS has performed eight major upgrades to the system. The latest expansion adds 24 of the newest generation systems containing advanced processors. More than 65 miles of cabling interconnects Pleiades nodes with and the hyperwall-2 visualization system.

Recently, scientists have counted on Pleiades for generating the "Bolshoi" cosmological simulation -- the largest simulation of its kind to date -- to help explain how galaxies and the large-scale structure of the universe have evolved over billions of years. The system also has proven essential for processing massive amounts of star data gathered from NASA's Kepler spacecraft, leading to the discovery of new Earth-sized planets in the Milky Way galaxy. The upgraded capability of Pleiades will enable NASA scientists to solve challenging problems like these more quickly, using even larger datasets.

Explore further: 50 Cent, Intel team up on heart-monitor headphones

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA Supercomputer Ranks Among World's Fastest

Nov 19, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's premiere supercomputer located at Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., has garnered the sixth spot on the Top500 list of the world's most powerful computers.

NASA Announces A New Approach To Earth Science Data Analysis

Apr 20, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- The way we analyze planet Earth will never be the same, thanks to a new initiative at NASA that integrates supercomputers with global satellite observations and sophisticated models of the Earth system in ...

Venus invades the Pleiades

Apr 03, 2012

This week the second planet from the sun will pass directly in front of the Pleiades star cluster. It's a rare sunset conjunction that's easy to find with the unaided eye, but best seen through binoculars ...

Recommended for you

New type of solar concentrator desn't block the view

8 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A team of researchers at Michigan State University has developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through ...

Cities, states face off on municipal broadband

8 hours ago

Wilson, N.C., determined nearly a decade ago that high-speed Internet access would be essential to the community's social and economic health in the 21st century, just as electricity, water and sewers were in the previous ...

User comments : 0