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HPE designs a new supercomputer for NASA, intended for future moon missions

By Wong Chung Wee - on 26 Aug 2019, 11:55am

HPE designs a new supercomputer for NASA, intended for future moon missions

HPE SGI 8600 system (Image source: HPE)

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is custom-designing a supercomputer for NASA that’s intended for the agency’s future moon missions.

Named Aitken, the supercomputer is “based on the HPE SGI 8600 system, an end-to-end, purpose-built high-performance computing (HPC) platform, which includes special liquid cooling capabilities for optimal energy efficiency.”

Image source: HPE

The HPE SGI 8600 system is a “liquid-cooled, tray-based” scalable clustered computer system that’s designed to run at petaflop speeds. Aitken is made up of 1,150 compute nodes and each node is powered by a pair of 2nd-gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors with Mellanox InfiniBand interconnect technology. Aitken features 46,080 CPU cores with access to 21TB of memory to perform at a theoretical peak of 3.69 petaflops.

NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, United States (Image source: NASA)

Aitken is located at NASA’s new modular supercomputing facility, and the supercomputer is developed based on a “Modular Data Centre (MDC) approach” that’s in collaboration with HPE. Both partners aim to deliver advanced HPC performance that’s more energy-efficient, with lower water usage. The new supercomputing facility is housed in NASA’s Ames Research Centre in California’s Silicon Valley, Untied States.

According to NASA, Aitken will allow researchers to “run thousands of complex simulations more quickly” for its Artemis program, which aims to put astronauts back on the Moon by 2024, and other space missions. NASA also has another HPE SGI 8600 system-based supercomputer named Electra that’s ranked 37th on the TOP500 list.

Source: HPE (1), (2), NASA, TOP500

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