SGI and SAUBER PETRONAS Enhance Winning Strategy with Advanced Visualization System That Delivers Four Times Faster Performance

MT. VIEW, CALIF. and ZURICH (Oct. 24, 2002) -- SAUBER PETRONAS, the Swiss Formula 1 Team, and SGI (NYSE: SGI) today announced that the companies are enhancing an already successful collaboration. SGI, the leading solutions provider for high-performance computing and advanced visualization systems, is now enabling the Swiss racing team in Hinwil, near Zurich, to access complex aerodynamic simulations at four times the speed achieved previously.

Advanced technology plays a critical role in Formula 1 racing. Since 2001, Peter Sauber's Hinwil engineering team has opted for SGI® high-performance computers, resulting in the SAUBER PETRONAS team's fourth-place finish in Formula 1 team rankings during the 2001 Constructor's Championship race season.

When drivers Nick Heidfeld and Felipe Massa are battling for mere thousandths-of-a-second timing on the hot asphalt, it is not only the skill of the drivers that determines their position on the rostrum and points, but also the technical advances and their implementation. Even with leading-edge technology, seconds are often crucial. Within an infinitesimal amount of time, the access to vast quantities of data must be assured to enable evaluation and instant comparison for a winning race strategy.

Four Times Faster Results

With continued success in mind, the SAUBER PETRONAS engineering team recently expanded its SGI® Onyx® 3400 visualization system with 16 CPUs to an SGI® Onyx® 3800 system powered by 64 CPUs and a 64GB mainframe memory. This enormously increased computing performance allows the Formula 1 team to calculate additional and more complex aerodynamic simulations. The massive mainframe memory enables a more exact evaluation and thereby achieves more reliable results. "All essential phases in aerodynamic simulation can be processed on the single SGI system*and accomplished four times faster," declared Team Boss Peter Sauber. "And now all this is even possible between individual races."

One application for which SAUBER PETRONAS will use the SGI high-performance computer is the intricate simulation of white-hot exhaust gases and their effect on the rear end of the car and its aerodynamic flow. Moreover, the behavior and characteristics of the fuel during corner maneuvers and refueling will also be simulated and analyzed. Data capacity of up to 10GB is required for the optimization of the car's adjustment. These results are instantly computed and analyzed in real time, thanks to the SGI® Onyx® 3000 series visualization system with InfiniteReality3(tm) graphics. Adds Torbjörn Larsson, head of computational fluid dynamics for SAUBER PETRONAS, "We decided in favor of SGI because they were the only manufacturer able to offer the massive CPU and visualization performance combined in the same system."

SGI Technology Boosts Winning Performance

Danny Schweingruber, country manager for Switzerland, SGI, explains, "The SAUBER PETRONAS team is a good example of how SGI technology has for more than 20 years enabled various research and development teams to gain valuable insight into complex connections. Not only have future-oriented technology and professional services ensured SGI's leading place in high-tech computing, but they will also continue to accompany SAUBER PETRONAS on their way to the pole position." For more information about SGI solutions for the automotive, aerospace and manufacturing industries, visit

About SGI

Celebrating its 20th year, SGI, also known as Silicon Graphics, Inc., is the world's leader in high-performance computing, visualization and the management of complex data. SGI products, services and solutions enable its technical and creative customers to gain strategic and competitive advantages in their core businesses. Whether being used to design and build safer cars and airplanes, discover new medications and oil reserves, predict the weather, entertain us with thrilling movie special effects or provide mission-critical support for government and defense, SGI systems and expertise are empowering a world of innovation and discovery. The company, located on the Web at, is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., and has offices worldwide.


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Shelley Miller