Technology 2 min read

NASA Ames and HPE Unveils new Aitken Supercomputer

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NASA has officially unveiled the Aitken supercomputer at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. The new supercomputer was custom-built by Hewlett Packard Enterprise to support the modeling and simulations of entry, descent, and landing of future NASA moon missions.

NASA’s new supercomputer was named after the American astronomer Robert Grant Aitken. Aitken was known for his study of binary star systems. He also served as president of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in 1899 and 1915.

The development of Aitken is part of a “four-year, multi-phase collaboration between HPE and NASA Ames.” It is set to run thousands of complex simulations at 3.69 petaFLOPs of “theoretical performance” to ensure the safe and accurate landings of astronauts on the moon.

In a statement, HPE said:

“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 Supercomputer to Support NASA Moon Missions

The Aitken supercomputer is currently located at the new NASA Ames’ modular supercomputing facility. The said facility was based on a Modular Data Center approach developed by NASA Ames together with HPE.

The modular facility is expected to cut the cost of electricity and water consumption while delivering advanced and highly efficient HP solutions.

According to HPE, the facility will combine the temperature of California’s Bay Area with evaporative methods to cool Aitken. The process eliminates the need for a cooling tower, saving NASA thousands of dollars in water consumption.

Bill Mannel, HPE’s vice president and general managers, 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. We are honored to have designed the new Aitken supercomputer and power capabilities for humanity’s next mission to the moon.”

Aside from Aitken, NASA Ames is also home to another HPE SGI 8600-based supercomputer, the Electra.

Read More: TOP500 Updates Semi-Annual List Of World’s Most Powerful Supercomputers


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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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