09.07.08

NASA's space age video wall

AUTHOR: Inavate

The North American Space Agency has replaced its existing display solution at its advanced super computing centre in Ames, California

The power to visualize highly complex information in a way that's easier for the human mind to grasp is taking a giant leap forward with the advent of NASA's new hyperwall-2 system unveiled at Ames Research Center.

The 23-foot-wide by 10-foot tall liquid crystal display wall is being used to view, analyze, and communicate results from NASA's high-fidelity modeling and simulation projects supporting the safety of new space exploration vehicle designs, atmospheric re-entry analysis for the space shuttle, earthquakes, climate change, global weather and black hole collisions.

"The hyperwall-2 offers a supercomputer-scale environment that is truly up to the task of visualization and exploration of the very large datasets routinely produced by NASA supercomputers and instruments," said Bryan Biegel, NAS deputy chief. "The system also will be used to get highly detailed information on how NAS supercomputers are operating, enabling staff to quickly and precisely diagnose problems or inefficiencies with the supercomputers or the software running on them."

Designed and developed by the NAS visualization team in partnership with Colfax International, Sunnyvale, Calif., the system is powered by 128 graphics processing units and 1,024 processor cores, with 74 teraflops (one teraflop equals one trillion floating point operations per second) of peak processing power and a data storage capacity of 475 terabytes (one terabyte equals one trillion bytes). The hyperwall-2 allows researchers to quickly determine trends across an array of related simulation results, or to view a single large image or animation. It would take nearly 600 video game consoles to equal the hyperwall-2's graphics processing capabilities.