SGI Visual Computing Technology Powers One-of-a-Kind 3D Space Theater Experience

SGI today
congratulated the American Museum of Natural History on the Feb. 19 public
opening of the Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and
Space and its new Hayden Planetarium, the most powerful, highest resolution,
most scientifically accurate 3D map of the virtual universe ever built.

The planetarium’s Space Theater, a state-of-the-art, 429-seat environment
with an 87-foot sphere, is powered by a 28-processor Silicon Graphics®
Onyx2® visual workstation with seven InfiniteReality2(TM) visual subsystems.
The supercomputer is used to create a 3D model of the Milky Way — a massive
scientific data set that contains billions of stars and is 100,000 times
larger than a normal star projector.

The Space Theater is the most technologically advanced of its kind and the
first in the world to rely on visual supercomputing for image generation on a
large scale. The technology has many advantages over film projection because
data content can be interactively controlled to show changing conditions in
the galaxy and can also be integrated with digital film and real-time
graphics. The result for visitors is the most realistic, immersive and
educational planetarium experience ever.

SGI worked closely with Trimension Systems Ltd., the system integrator for
all aspects of the computer system, display system and show automation
technology; Aechelon Technology, which developed C-GALAXY(tm), the
image-generation software used to traverse star and astronomical databases in
real time; and Alias|Wavefront, which provided software that helps plot a
course through the huge database.

About Silicon Graphics Onyx2

The Silicon Graphics Onyx2 visual workstation, with its high-bandwidth
ccNUMA architecture, combines supercomputing and visualization technologies to
process 3D graphics, 2D imaging and video data in real time. It is an ideal
solution for gaining insight into the fields of manufacturing, government,
engineering, science, research and entertainment. The Onyx2 family of products
offers flexible configurations ranging from a deskside platform to multiple
rack systems.

About Hayden Planetarium

The Hayden Planetarium, part of the American Museum of Natural History’s
new Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space, is
the most powerful virtual reality simulator in the world. Its unique computer
and projection systems have the ability to combine real-time visual
simulations with prerendered graphics, high-resolution imagery, and online
news of current science events, making it a state-of-the-art educational tool
as well as an effective exhibition medium.

About Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space
The Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space at the
American Museum of Natural History, a monumental new 120-foot-high,
333,500-square-foot exhibition, research and education facility with increased
visitor amenities, opened to the public on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2000.
$210 million Rose Center and North Side project, including a rebuilt and
rejuvenated Hayden Planetarium, serves to expand and enhance the public’s
grasp of profound astronomical concepts such as the size, age and origin of
the universe and the evolution of galaxies, stars and planets.
Based on the
latest data, images and discoveries, the Rose Center combines content with
technologies unimaginable until now.
The Rose Center serves as a critical
bridge for the Museum by offering immersive environments about the nature of
the universe and of our planet that seamlessly link to the rest of the
Museum’s 42 permanent exhibition halls exploring the diversity and history of
life on Earth, and the cultural richness of our species.

About SGI

SGI provides a broad range of high-performance computing and advanced
graphics solutions that enable customers to understand and conquer their
toughest computing problems. Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., with
offices worldwide, the company is located on the Web at

Silicon Graphics, Onyx and Onyx2 are registered trademarks, and
InfiniteReality2, SGI and the SGI logo are trademarks, of Silicon Graphics,
Inc. C-GALAXY is a trademark of Aechelon Technology, Inc. All other trademarks
mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.