TG Daily writes Intel and SGI have secured contracts to build a new supercomputer for NASA. The system is called "Pleiades" and it will replace the "Columbia" supercomputer that was built in 2004.
The Pleiades supercomputer is planned to deliver 1 PFlops of computing power by 2009 and 10 PFlops by 2012. When Pleiades will be functional next year it will be almost twice as powerful as today's most powerful supercomputer.
Under the terms of a Space Act Agreement, NASA said that will work closely with Intel and SGI to increase computational capabilities for modeling and simulation at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility at NASA's Silicon Valley-based Ames Research Center at Moffett Field. As NASA’s Columbia supercomputer, currently listed at #20 in the list of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers, is past its prime time, the new Pleiades is aimed to deliver the computing capability of new technologies and take NASA back to the top of the list.
Few details about Pleiades have been released, but NASA said that it targets a peak performance of 1 PFlops or 16x the performance of Columbia, which stands at about 61 TFlops. A 2012 is expected to result in a ten-fold increase in performance to about 10 PFlops.
This dramatic increase in performance raises questions how Intel and SGI will be able to deliver this speed, especially if we heard just yesterday that a 10 PFlops system would currently cost about $1 billion to construct. It seems as this system could be another project for Intel that takes advantage of Larrabee accelerator nodes.