Artist's illustration using binary numbers

NASA is collaborating with Cray Research, Inc., Eagan, Minn., to conduct joint research and development activities using the company's most powerful supercomputer.

The partnership is a NASA response to the multi-agency High Performance Computing and Communications program, a bold national initiative to advance U.S. capabilities in supercomputing.

The computer will be located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., with the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, as a collaborator in the project.

"The Cray T3D system, together with our expertise in parallel processing, will allow us to tackle new computational problems in Earth and space sciences," said Dr. Carl Kukkonen, Supercomputing Project Manager at JPL.

"More importantly, we will be able to feed back JPL's and Caltech's experiences to Cray and thus, contribute to maintaining U.S. leadership in supercomputing," Kukkonen added.

"This collaboration will help us address the grand challenges of Earth and space sciences -- analyzing the enormous data sets from NASA's Earth and planetary missions," said Joseph Bredekamp of the Office of Space Science and Applications, NASA Headquarters. "We expect that 20 to 25 percent of our scientific computing will be performed on parallel computers within 3 years." NASA Applications

JPL will use the new Cray T3D system for applications that require high-power computers -- turning planetary data from spacecraft into three-dimensional animations; electromagnetic simulations for the design of communications antennas; analyzing Earth satellite data; studying the dynamics of chemical reactions and the flow of space plasmas; and computational fluid dynamics.

"NASA is committed to being an early user of new parallel supercomputers, and Cray will be an important player," said Lee Holcomb, Director for the High Performance Computing and Communications program at NASA Headquarters.

In the fall of 1993, JPL will receive a Cray T3D system, the company's new "massively parallel" supercomputer. The innovative machine uses 256 processors to reach a peak speed of 38 billion floating point mathematical operations per second, making it Cray's most powerful computer. The effort involves JPL, Cray and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena. Center Of Excellence

Cray has designated JPL/Caltech as one of four "Cray Centers of Excellence in Parallel Computing." Under this program, the company will locate staff engineers at JPL to carry out joint research in parallel computing techniques.

Cray President John Carlson said the company chose JPL as a site for its Center of Excellence program "because of the great expertise developed at JPL and the Caltech campus in parallel computation."

The project is funded by NASA's Office of Aeronautics and Office of Space Science and Applications, Washington, D.C.

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