National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Date of this Version



The International Journal of Supercomputer Applications, Volume 5, No. 3, pp. 63-73


U.S. Government Work


The Numerical Aerodynamic Simulation (NAS) Program, which is based at NASA Ames Research Center, is a large-scale effort to advance the state of computational aerodynamics. Specifically, the NAS organization aims &dquo;to provide the Nation’s aerospace research and development community by the year 2000 a highperformance, operational computing system capable of simulating an entire aerospace vehicle system within a computing time of one to several hours&dquo; (NAS Systems Division, 1988, p. 3). The successful solution of this &dquo;grand challenge&dquo; problem will require the development of computer systems that can perform the required complex scientific computations at a sustained rate nearly 1,000 times greater than current generation supercomputers can achieve. The architecture of computer systems able to achieve this level of performance will likely be dissimilar to the shared memory multiprocessing supercomputers of today. While no consensus yet exists on what the design will be, it is likely that the system will consist of at least 1,000 processors computing in parallel. Highly parallel systems with computing power roughly equivalent to that of traditional shared memory multiprocessors exist today. Unfortunately, for various reasons, the performance evaluation of these systems on comparable types of scientific computations is very difficult. Relevant data for the performance of algorithms of interest to the computational aerophysics community on many currently available parallel systems are limited. Benchmarking and performance evaluation of such systems have not kept pace with advances in hardware, software, and algorithms. In particular, there is as yet no generally accepted benchmark program or even a benchmark strategy for these systems.