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NASA Says "Cool It" to Water Waste

November 9, 2015


Photo Credit: Marco Librero, NASA/Ames

New SGI supercomputer cooling system will save 2 million gallons of water a year

As one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, the Pleiades system at NASA's Ames Research Center generates a massive amount of heat. Until recently it required millions of gallons of water to cool it, and most of that water evaporated into thin air from a large cooling tower on site.

However, in drought-stricken California water is too precious to waste. So now a new Data Center on Demand (DCoD) modular supercomputing environment from SGI—in partnership with Commscope—will reduce annual water evaporation by over 99 percent. Compared to the current facility that amounts to a savings of 50,000 gallons of water a day.

"Taking advantage of the Bay Area's temperate climate to cool our systems saves NASA money and greatly reduces our impact on the environment," says William Thigpen, chief of the Ames Research Center's NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division's Advanced Computing Branch.

The DCoD environment uses a combination of outdoor air and evaporative (adiabatic) cooling to get rid of the heat generated by the system. The initial system will contain four racks of SGI servers containing the latest Intel Xeon processors dedicated to scientific computing.

Read more about NASA's new modular supercomputer cluster that will save millions of gallons of water each year.