Scientists and engineers from NASA and across the U.S. will present their latest computational achievements at SC15, the international supercomputing conference, Nov. 16-19, in Austin, Texas.

Supercomputers are critical to scientific discovery and technical innovation for a variety of mission objectives. They have contributed to designing fuel-efficient airplanes, developing spacecraft to send humans to Mars, understanding and predicting changes to Earth’s climate, and determining the origins of the universe.

The NASA exhibit at the Austin Convention Center will showcase about 40 mission projects that benefit from agency high-performance computing (HPC) resources, through:
Advanced modeling and simulation of a revolutionary aircraft designed to reduce fuel consumption to 60% of that used by today’s aircraft, resulting in substantial savings for airline operations.
An innovative combination of NASA and commercial cloud technologies being used to calculate the number of trees and shrubs–and the amount of carbon they store–from the Sahara south to the tropical savanna zones in Africa.
A new Space Launch System database, generated using tens of millions of HPC hours, to accurately predict the aerodynamic forces that occur when the solid rocket boosters separate from the rocket, under all possible flight conditions.
Complex simulations following the formation and evolution of giant clouds and star clusters over 700,000 years to help scientists determine the origin of stars and planets—one of the most fundamental questions in astrophysics.

At SC15, NASA experts will also discuss technology advances at the agency’s two leading supercomputing centers. This year, the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, increased the power of its Pleiades supercomputer by 21%. Pleiades, which supports science and engineering missions across the agency, now has a total of 211,616 cores and a peak performance of 5.3 petaflops. NAS has initiated a one-year study for a prototype Modular Supercomputing Facility (MSF) cooled by outdoor air and evaporative cooling. If adopted, the MSF could save the facility millions gallons of water per year, and greatly reduce both its energy costs and impact on the environment.

The NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS), located at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, tripled the performance of its Discover supercomputer. Discover now has a total of 79,200 cores and a peak performance of 3.5 petaflops. Among the advances enabled by the new cores is a global atmospheric simulation with more than 200 million grid cells each just one mile wide (a circa year 2030 forecast model) and several NASA projects to better quantify the quality of downscaled climate projections.

Demonstrations in NASA’s exhibit booth #333 represent work by scientists, engineers, and technologists at six NASA locations: Ames Research Center; Goddard Space Flight Center; Headquarters, Washington, D.C.; Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California; Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia; and Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama; along with university and corporate partners.

In addition to the exhibit, authors of the NASA-developed NAS Parallel Benchmarks will be honored for their seminal 1991 paper on the benchmarks at SC’s “Test of Time Award” presentation, recognizing its enduring value in evaluating sustained performance of highly parallel computers. Agency staff will also present at several technical program, workshop and birds-of-a-feather sessions.

Media attending SC15 who wish to schedule onsite interviews must contact Jill Dunbar of Ames by email at or by phone at 408-203-8048, or Jarrett Cohen of Goddard by email at or by phone at 301-257-9595.

For more information about NASA’s SC15 exhibit, visit:

For more information about NASA’s high-end computing program, visit: