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Walt BrooksWalt Brooks
Large-Scale NASA Science Applications on the Columbia Supercluster
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Building 3 Auditorium - 3:30 PM
(Refreshments at 3:00 PM)

Columbia, NASA's newest 61 teraflops supercomputer that became operational late last year, is a highly integrated Altix cluster of 10,240 processors, and was named to honor the crew of the Space Shuttle lost in early 2003. Constructed in just four months, Columbia increased NASA's computing capability ten-fold, and revitalized the Agency's high-end computing efforts. Significant cutting-edge science and engineering simulations in the areas of space and Earth sciences, as well as aeronautics and space operations, are already occurring on this largest operational Linux supercomputer, demonstrating its capacity and capability to accelerate NASA's space exploration vision.

The presentation will describe how an integrated environment consisting not only of next-generation systems, but also modeling and simulation, high-speed networking, parallel performance optimization, and advanced data analysis and visualization, is being used to reduce design cycle time, accelerate scientific discovery, conduct parametric analysis of multiple scenarios, and enhance safety during the life cycle of NASA missions. The talk will conclude by discussing how NAS partnered with various NASA centers, other government agencies, computer industry, and academia, to create a national resource in large-scale modeling and simulation.

As chief of the Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division at NASA's Ames Research Center, Dr. Walt Brooks oversees the full range of high-performance computing efforts within the division. Working in this capacity since January 2003, he has been instrumental in transforming the NAS facility into the agency's lead supercomputing center. Recently, he led a successful campaign to help NASA procure twenty 512-processor SGI Altix systems developed in collaboration with SGI and Intel. This new system, named Columbia has revitalized the agency's high-end computing infrastructure.

Dr. Brooks' career at NASA Ames began in 1977. Early on, he led groups that simulated and designed space science missions such as Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS), Space InfraRed Telescope Facility (SIRTF) and Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). In 1993 he was selected to lead the Space Station redesign management team. He served as both Assistant Director of Aerophysics for Ames and Chief of the Information Systems Programs and Projects Division before being appointed acting NAS Division Chief in summer 1995.

Awarded the NASA Outstanding Leadership medal for his work in the area of high-end computing, Dr. Brooks has played an important role in the high-end computing aspects of the Return-to-Flight effort. He is a member of the High End Computing Revitalization Task Force that produced an important report in 2003 that outlines a set of the organization's key findings and recommendations to advance the state of high-end computing in the U.S. He is currently president of the SGI user group, a Sloan Fellow, an AIAA Associate Fellow, and author of more than 50 publications.

Brooks received a doctorate in physics from Stevens Institute of Technology, performing research for his thesis at Brookhaven National Laboratory. He earned a master's degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1991.

IS&T Colloquium Committee Host: Jim Fischer