Jun 29 2008
Posted by: Bogdan Alex in News
I think you still remember that 15-monitor display. You ainâ€™t seen nothing yet, I tell you. Check out what NASA is using.
NASA explains that their monitor wall was developed by scientists and engineers in the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division at Ames. The wall is made up of no less than 128 displays and it is capable of rendering one quarter billion pixel graphics, which is supposed to be the world's highest resolution scientific visualization and data exploration environment. The new tool enables scientists to quickly explore datasets that otherwise would take many years to analyze.
Measuring around 23-foot-wide by 10-foot tall, the liquid crystal display wall aka Hyperwall-2 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."
What you donâ€™t see in the pictures is the system that is powering the displays, which integrates 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). Thatâ€™s nowhere near the Roadrunner â€“ the fastest supercomputer on Earth at the moment, but the Hyperwall-2 system 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.
According to NASA, the Hyperwall-2 system has more than 100 times the processing power of the original 49-screen Hyperwall developed in 2002 by the NAS visualization team.