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High-End Computing Program

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The High-End Computing Program provides users with a wide variety of value-added services to help them quickly and efficiently accomplish their mission computing needs. The NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Facility at Ames Research Center maintains all its service offerings in-house. The NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS) at Goddard Space Flight Center provides some services through its parent organization, the Computational and Information Sciences and Technology Office (CISTO)..

User Services Support

Frontline user services entities at both NAS and the NCCS assist users day and night. In addition to answering questions, user services staff play an active role in testing and anticipating user questions about new tools, hardware, software, or security requirements. Shaking out problems before users encounter them and creating documentation and training to address common problems helps maximize efficiency and maintain a stable computing environment.

Application Optimization

Enhancing application performance and user productivity over entire project lifecycles are two key objectives of the Program’s performance optimization specialists. Expertise spanning both computer science and science and engineering applications enables multi-level support ranging from basic scientific consulting to working closely with users to enhance their codes. Personnel also evaluate tools and architectures to identify the optimal technologies for incorporation into NASA’s HEC environment.

Advanced Visualization and Analysis

Working closely with users, HEC visualization experts apply, and at times, create new techniques to expose the intricate temporal and spatial details of computational models. With the challenges of higher-fidelity models and explosive data growth, these experts have pushed the envelope by developing special techniques for concurrent visualization—moving large datasets as they are generated to graphics hardware for on-the-fly analysis and rendering. Other efforts provide tools and services to access, visualize, analyze, compare, and publish model data.

High-Speed Networking

In conjunction with the NASA Communications Services Office, the HEC Program provides end-to-end operational support for a secure, national wide-area network (WAN) at speeds up to 10 gigabits per second. Program networking staff support local-area networks (LAN), accommodate users’ new requirements for local and distributed applications, and monitor connections to and from HEC systems using custom-designed network analysis tools.

High-End Computing Systems Development

The HEC Program strives to provide users with computing architectures well-suited for their applications and deliver a full-service HEC offering. Striking a balance between upgrading HEC technologies and minimizing impact on users is of utmost importance, along with maintaining a high level of system availability and providing uninterrupted access to computational resources and user data.

System Performance

The Program is dedicated to ensuring proper management and allocation of its resources—for example, determining appropriate shares of the resources for each NASA Mission Directorate and closely tracking usage to ensure maximum productivity. With a dramatic increase in usage over the past 3 years, staff are looking at alternative methods for data post-processing.

Mass Storage

Terabytes of data are being generated each day at the NAS and NCCS facilities combined. The aim is to provide sufficient archival capacity and bandwidth for efficent archiving of compuational results so that users can make room for online storage of new results. NAS provides 115 petabytes of tertiary storage capacity, while the NCCS furnishes 37 petabytes of tertiary storage capacity.

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