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4/21/2008
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NASA Celebrates 25 Years In Supercomputing

With a long history in space, the agency's systems now host aerospace modeling, simulation, storage, high-speed networking, visualization, and computational services.

NASA is marking 25 years in supercomputing at its Ames Research Center.

The agency celebrated the anniversary of the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division at an event on Monday. NASA founded the division in 1983, when it was called the Numerical Aerodynamic Simulation program. Now, NAS hosts high performance computing, aerospace modeling, simulation, storage, high-speed networking, visualization, application performance optimization, and high-fidelity computational services.

"Over the past quarter-century, the NAS Division has earned an international reputation as a pioneer in development and application of high-performance computing technologies," NASA Ames Research Center Director S. Pete Worden, said in a news announcement. "This outstanding team provides its diverse customers with state-of-the art supercomputing services and world-class aerospace modeling and simulation expertise."

NAS supported the space shuttle's return to flight and subsequent missions. It also hosts simulations critical to the design of space exploration vehicles, Ares and Orion. NAS supercomputers support aeronautics research and simulate experiments in nanotechnology, combustion, atmospheric chemistry, ocean and climate modeling, hurricane prediction, solar and black hole physics, and cosmological structure.

"NAS has a stellar record of innovation and delivery of cutting-edge technology," Rupak Biswas, chief of the NAS Division, said in a prepared statement. "None of that success would have been possible without our expert staff, which continuously accomplishes ambitious goals while overcoming challenges."

The division recently installed the world's largest known visualization engine, the "Hyperwall-2," which has more than a million times the graphics rendering power of the original workstations at NAS. NAS plans to add a new cluster supercomputing system this year.

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