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High-End Computing Program

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Photo of NAS building

NASA Advanced Supercomputing Facility, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California. Photo by Pat Elson.

The NAS facility at Ames Research Center was established in the early 1980s by Congress with a charter to provide high-end computing capabilities for performing numerical simulations of proposed commercial and military aircraft designs. Since then, NAS has continually adapted to meet NASA’s changing needs. Among its offerings are three world-class supercomputers: Pleiades, now capable of 7.09 petaflops (7,090 trillion floating-point operations per second) of peak performance; Electra, an innovative modular supercomputing system currently capable of 8.32 petaflops peak; and Aitken, the newest modular system, capable of 10.76 petaflops peak.

The sponsorship for NAS is from the High-End Computing Capability (HECC) Project, which is managed by the High-End Computing (HEC) Program. With Pleiades, Electra, and Aitken, the HEC Program has enhanced performance and better facilitated groundbreaking science and engineering in support of all four NASA Mission Directorates.

NAS’ integrated resource and service offerings include high-speed networks, archival storage systems, system performance and application optimization, 24x7 user services operations, data analysis, and scientific visualization. In parallel with supercomputer growth, NAS continually develops advanced visualization techniques. NAS has deployed a cutting-edge visualization system, hyperwall-2, which is connected directly to supercomputers, allowing scientists to run more sophisticated concurrent visualizations.

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