Silicon Graphics has announced that it has signed a deal with Nasa through which the space agency will build a massive 10,240-processor cluster based on its Altix Linux servers to create the Space Exploration Simulator.
The deal builds on an eight-year relationship between the two organizations that has helped Mountain View, California-based SGI to expand the scalability of its Altix machine to 512 processors, and will see more advancement in the areas of single system addressable memory.
The new Space Simulation Simulator, known as Project Columbia, is being created by Nasa with SGI and Intel and will use 20 512-processor Intel Itanium 2 SGI Altix systems running 64-bit Linux with a 500 TB SGI InfiniteStorage storage area network.
Project Columbia will also make use of storage technologies from Brocade Communications and Engenio Information Technologies, memory technology from Dataram and Micron Technology, and interconnect technology from Voltaire.
SGI said it has already delivered the first three new Altix systems to Nasa’s Ames Research Center, where Project Columbia will be housed. Nasa Ames has already proved a strong partner to SGI in the past, helping the company to stretch Altix to 512 processors with its Kaplana system.
Project Columbia will help SGI to push its Linux cluster system even further, with Nasa and SGI working to expand Altix to support global addressable memory across 2,048 processors in a single system.
Project Columbia will boost the Nasa Advanced Supercomputing Facility’s computing capacity ten-fold and will be used to simulate future space missions, project the impact of human activity on weather patterns, and to design new space exploration vehicles and aircraft.
Nasa will also make a portion of the Space Exploration Simulator’s computing power available to other members of the US science and engineering community.
As well as drawing data from the 500TB SGI InfiniteStorage SAN, utilizing SGI’s CXFS shared filesystem, the cluster will also make use of a further 800TB of existing data managed by an SGI InfiniteStorage Data Migration Facility.