1st Linux-Based High-Performance Computing System

Anonymous Reader writes “SGI Introduces First Linux-Based High-Performance Visual Computing System. Silicon Graphics Prism Designed to Solve New Classes of Visualization Problems Facing Scientists and Engineers.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (October 11, 2004)—Leveraging its position as the world’s leading innovator in high-performance visual computing, SGI (NYSE: SGI) today announced the Silicon Graphics Prismâ„¢, the world’s most powerful and flexible Linux® OS-based visual computer product line. For the first time, SGI has taken its most advanced computer graphics capability, previously affordable to only a select few, and made it available on a truly open and accessible platform. By combining standards-based Intel® Itanium® 2 processors, the Linux operating environment, and its world renowned advanced graphics technology, SGI has created a system that is uniquely suited to addressing the world’s most demanding visual computing problems – all at price points that make it accessible to a wider group of users.

“The pace of scientific discovery and engineering innovation has never been more aggressive,” said Paul McNamara, senior vice president and general manager, Visual Systems Group, SGI. “Silicon Graphics Prism gives a broader range of users the most advanced visualization capability available, enabling them to be more competitive in today’s innovation-driven economy. By providing this capability on a Linux OS-based, open platform, more researchers and innovators will be able to leverage this leading-edge level of visual computing.”

Silicon Graphics Prism stands alone in the visualization world in its ability to break through capacity and interactivity barriers imposed by other computer systems architectures.

Real-world applications such as cancer research, disaster preparedness, oil exploration and car safety analysis involve enormous amounts of data. Typical commodity graphics systems today must break this data into smaller chunks for graphics processing—a process that’s time-consuming and imperfect. As a complete visualization system, Silicon Graphics Prism was designed to address terabyte-sized, highly complex data as a single contiguous data set in memory. Users are thereby able to quickly grasp complex relationships within their data, leading, ultimately, to deeper understanding of the issues.

“Imagine sorting through a stack of one thousand postcard-sized images and then pasting them together to form a mosaic of the whole,” said Shawn Underwood, marketing director, Visual Systems Group, SGI. “That’s essentially what is done with distributed processing across an array of commodity boxes. It’s slow and imperfect. With Silicon Graphics Prism you see the whole picture instantly.”

Because advanced visualization is integral to a host of different applications, Silicon Graphics Prism is beneficial to a wide range of markets. For example, university researchers can collaborate with distant colleagues more easily, oil exploration teams can see seismic data in much greater detail, drug discovery researchers can run proteomic simulations interactively, and emergency management personnel can model disaster scenarios.

“NCSA is excited by the visual interactivity that Silicon Graphics Prism brings to supercomputing,” said Rob Pennington, interim director of NCSA. “Our research collaborators include the world’s leaders in their disciplines, and they are looking for new ways to understand the terabytes of data they are generating with their applications. Silicon Graphics Prism system’s combination of scalable visualization, large memory and scalable computing turns researchers into active participants in their computational research rather than observers that analyze results after they are generated.”

“Accelerating the pace of scientific discovery requires detailed insight into terascale data-sets that is greatly enabled through the scalability, power and bandwidth of Silicon Graphics Prism,” said Larry Smarr, University of California, San Diego and director, California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology. “SGI’s new system has the ability to deliver insight to disparate groups using Visual Area Networking which enables the kind of inter-disciplinary collaboration that will result in unique breakthroughs.”

Breaking Barriers for Rapid Insight

With the Silicon Graphics Prism visualization family, limits are meant to be broken. Scaling up to 16 graphics pipelines and 256 processors, the Silicon Graphics Prism family offers many times the visualization capability of any currently available computing system. For leaders, innovators and visionaries, this scalability translates into the ability to interactively visualize terabytes of data in their native form without having to waste hours culling it beforehand. Instead, efforts can be focused on discovering hidden details in the dataset in order to push limits and solve previously unsolved problems.

The range of problems that customers are tackling with Silicon Graphics Prism include:

unlocking the secrets of the planet
diagnosing life-threatening medical conditions in unprecedented detail
achieving six-sigma quality by enabling domain experts to work collaboratively, not sequentially
extracting currently unrecoverable petroleum assets
Simple and Easy Application Migration

To greatly simplify and accelerate running applications on the new platform SGI has turned to Transitive Corporation for its QuickTransit™ product that allows software applications compiled for one processor and operating system to run on another processor and operating system without any source code or binary changes. With QuickTransit, researchers, scientists and engineers currently running applications on other SGI® systems—based on the MIPS® processor and IRIX® operating system—can transparently run these applications on the new system. QuickTransit allows software developers to quickly provide a fully functional, high-performance solution on Silicon Graphics Prism, while circumventing the often lengthy and expensive process of completing a full native port.

Silicon Graphics Prism is built on a foundation of SGI® NUMAflexâ„¢ shared-memory architecture. It gives the system the large, complex data memory functionality needed for today’s real-time technical environments. A combination of Intel Itanium 2 processors, the Linux operating system, and standards-based graphics accelerators from ATI make the system powerful, yet economical. With an entry price of $30,000 (U.S.), Silicon Graphics Prism introduces a new pricing model for SGI visualizations systems. This low entry price allows SGI to address a wider community of users and developers.

On top of it all is SGI’s highly advanced array of visual computing products and a host of OpenGL® visualization software development tools. These include SGI’s cross-platform OpenGL Performerâ„¢ and OpenGL Volumizerâ„¢ application programming interfaces (APIs). These tools provide graphics functionality and the best fidelity in the industry.

Silicon Graphics Prism is available through SGI sales offices and SGI Solution Providers worldwide. Additional information on SGI’s scalable, high-performance visualization solutions is available at www.sgi.com/products/visualization.

SILICON GRAPHICS | The Source of Innovation and Discoveryâ„¢
SGI, also known as Silicon Graphics, Inc. (NYSE: SGI), is a leader in high-performance computing, visualization and storage. SGI’s vision is to provide technology that enables the most significant scientific and creative breakthroughs of the 21st century. Whether it’s sharing images to aid in brain surgery, finding oil more efficiently, studying global climate, providing technologies for homeland security and defense, or enabling the transition from analog to digital broadcasting, SGI is dedicated to addressing the next class of challenges for scientific, engineering and creative users. With offices worldwide, the company is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., and can be found on the Web at www.sgi.com.

Silicon Graphics, SGI, Onyx, OpenGL, IRIX, the SGI logo and the SGI cube are registered trademarks and, Silicon Graphics Prism, NUMAflex, OpenGL Performer, OpenGL Volumizer and The Source of Innovation and Discovery are trademarks of Silicon Graphics, Inc., in the United States and/or other countries worldwide. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in several countries. MIPS is a registered trademark of MIPS Technologies, Inc., used under license by Silicon Graphics, Inc. Intel and Itanium are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding SGI technologies and third-party technologies that are subject to risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in such statements. The viewer is cautioned not to rely unduly on these forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of future or current performance. Such risks and uncertainties include long-term program commitments, the performance of third parties, the sustained performance of current and future products, financing risks, the impact of competitive markets, the ability to integrate and support a complex technology solution involving multiple providers and users, the acceptance of applicable technologies by markets and customers, and other risks detailed from time to time in the company’s most recent SEC reports, including its reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q.”

Link: sgi.com