NASA Science and Engineering Achievements to be Featured


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Some of NASA's most spectacular science and engineering achievements enabled by the agency's high-end computing resources will be showcased at Supercomputing 2006 (SC06), the International Conference for High-Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis at Tampa's Convention Center, Nov. 11-17, 2006.

This year's conference, drawing its inspiration from Albert Einstein, who said, "Computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid; humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate, and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination," is expected to attract more than 10,000 participants from around the globe, representing industry, academia, and government agencies.

"Experience throughout the agency has shown that high-end computing resources are essential to helping meet NASA mission goals. We are excited to be showing some high-impact science and engineering results generated on NASA's high-end computing systems, including the Columbia supercomputer-one of the world's largest, most capable production supercomputers," said Rupak Biswas, chief of the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division at Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley. According to Biswas, Columbia will surpass the delivery of 100-million production processor-hours later this year. "Results such as the development of a new launch vehicle, which will send astronauts into space, and the simulation and visualization of gravitational waves produced by two colliding black holes will be highlighted."

At SC06, participants will have an opportunity to experience fascinating presentations and demonstrations representing all four of the Agency's mission directorates-aeronautics, exploration systems, science, and space exploration. These demonstrations will be shown at nine demonstration stations, on two large plasma screens, and on a cluster of nine screens known as the "mini-hyperwall," a traveling version of NASA's 49-screen hyperwall visualization tool, used by NASA researchers to better understand and explore the massive datasets generated on the agency's supercomputers.

"SC06 participants will also have an opportunity to learn about NASA's new effort, initiated at SC05, to create a seamless user environment across NASA's two primary supercomputing centers-the NASA Center for Computational Sciences at NASA Goddard in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the NASA Advanced Supercomputing facility at NASA Ames. This cohesive environment will be a powerful communications tool and a helpful service hub for the agency's high-end computing users," added Biswas.

Among the 250-plus research and industry booths at SC06, NASA's research exhibit will highlight science and engineering investigations being conducted by researchers from five of NASA's field centers: Ames Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, Glenn Research Center, Langley Research Center, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in addition to various agency research partner facilities. Demonstrations will include NASA's work using the agency's high-end computing resources to assess viability of proposed vehicle designs of a new Crew Launch Vehicle, which will send astronauts into space in the Orion capsule atop an Ares rocket.

Visitors at the NASA booth will also learn about the work agency scientists have recently completed to simulate and visualize gravitational waves produced by two colliding black holes-the simulation generated from the largest single astrophysical computation ever performed on a NASA supercomputer.

Another demostration will cover the use of NASA supercomputers to generate computations of the space shuttle Discovery (STS-121 mission, July 2006) under reentry conditions. These computations were used to reduce uncertainties in the engineering models, and to confirm pressure loadings on the gap filler from other engineering analyses, ultimately leading to the clearing of the vehicle for safe reentry and landing.

SC06 is sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and by the Association for Computing Machinery.

For more information about the conference, please visit:

http://sc06.supercomputing.org/

For information about NASA and Agency programs, please visit:

http://www.nasa.gov

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