SGI, NASA team up on supercomputer development

Silicon Graphics and US space agency NASA have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on developing supercomputer technology.

The memorandum covers a range of joint research and development efforts aimed at facilitating the creation of future spacecraft. Such research will include designing medical devices to help astronauts undertaking long-term space missions, according to a statement from SGI released on Tuesday.

Under the terms of the agreement, SGI and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will collaborate on developing large-scale supercomputing applications, suitable supercomputer operating systems and methods of minimizing the impact on such computer systems of low-level component failures, SGI said in the statement.

NASA is no stranger to SGI technology. For instance, the computer vendor is providing the necessary hardware to run a nationwide air traffic control simulation center due to open in the fourth quarter of this year at NASA's Mountain View, California-based Ames Research Center. The facility, to be run by the space agency and the Federal Aviation Administration, uses an SGI Onyx2 workstation to run simulation software based on Raytheon Systems' FirstPlus application.

SGI derives more than half of its revenues from the sale of servers and supercomputers, according to recent estimates by company executives. The vendor has been dogged by financial woes of late and is in the midst of implementing a strategy designed to turn its fortunes around and broaden its customer base. Part of such hopes lie in a planned change of company name from Silicon Graphics to SGI.

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