IBM supplies supercomputer to NASA

NASA has selected an IBM System p575+ supercomputer for evaluating next-generation technology to meet the agency’s future supercomputing requirements. The agency uses supercomputers for many applications, including new space vehicle design, global climate studies and astrophysics research.



The IBM system is being installed at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility at the Ames Research Centre in California, where it is undergoing testing and evaluation. With 640 computational cores and a peak performance of approximately 5.6 teraflops, the system will augment the agency’s existing ‘Columbia’ system, currently ranked as the eighth fastest supercomputer in the world.



The NAS supports scientists and engineers throughout the United States who work on projects such as designing spacecraft, improving weather and hurricane models, and understanding the behaviour of the sun. Many NASA projects require large, complex calculations and sophisticated mathematical models that can be efficiently handled only by a supercomputer.



The NAS technology upgrade effort used a comprehensive benchmark suite to characterise system performance on NASA-relevant applications and to measure job throughput for a workload in a complex, high-performance computing environment.



The IBM p575+ supercomputer acquisition is the first of a four-phase procurement process that will eventually replace the Columbia supercomputer system. This phased replacement supports the requirements of the agency Strategic Capabilities Assets Program (SCAP) High-End Computing Capability to provide supercomputing capability to meet the needs of NASA’s programs and missions.