Hewlett Packard to support NASA’s search for new moon supercomputer

Hewlett Packard to support NASA’s search for new moon supercomputer

Stephen Kuper

Hewlett Packard has announced it custom-designed a supercomputer for NASA’s Ames Research Center to support modelling and simulations of entry, descent and landing (EDL) for the agency’s missions and Artemis program, a mission to land the next humans on the lunar south pole region by 2024.

The new supercomputer, which NASA Ames has named “Aitken”, is an initial development of a four-year, multi-phase collaboration between Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and NASA Ames.

Named after Robert Grant Aitken, an American astronomer specialising in binary star systems, Aitken will run thousands of complex simulations more quickly at 3.69 petaFLOPS of theoretical performance to enable accurate and safe landings on the moon.

Aitken 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. Aitken is located in NASA Ames’ new modular supercomputing facility, based on a modular data centre (MDC) approach jointly developed with HPE, to deliver advanced HPC solutions that drive greater efficiency and significantly reduce electricity and water use.

Bill Mannel, vice president and general manager, HPC and AI, at HPE, said, "HPE has a longstanding collaboration with NASA Ames, and together, we continue to build innovative HPC technologies to fuel space and science discovery that increase overall efficiency and reduce costs."

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HPE designed the NASA Ames’ new supercomputer using the end-to-end, purpose-built HPE SGI 8600 system that integrates compute, software, networking and other IT infrastructure solutions from its robust ecosystem of partners, including:

  • Second generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors for advanced compute performance;
  • Mellanox InfiniBand to enable scalable bandwidth for high-performance networking; and
  • Schneider Electric SmartShelter Containers that enable easy-to-deploy, prefabricated IT infrastructure packaged within a secure, weather proof, fire-rated, data module for remote or special applications.

"We are honoured to have designed the new Aitken supercomputer and power capabilities for humanity’s next mission to the moon," Mannel said.

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