Vanderbilt University selects Silicon Graphics Onyx4 Visualization System to power new state-of-the-art computing center

Onyx4 Chosen for Advanced Capabilities in the Field of Neuroscience, Biophysics, and Structural Biology-Related Teaching and Research

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Aug. 10, 2004 -- Silicon Graphics (NYSE: SGI), a global leader in high-performance computing, storage and advanced visualization has announced the implementation of a Silicon Graphics(R) Onyx4(TM) UltimateVision(TM) visualization system at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN as part of their Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education (ACCRE). ACCRE -- provides state of the art computing, storage, and visualization facilities campus-wide, supporting projects spanning the university's College of Arts and Science, Medical Center, and School of Engineering. Vanderbilt selected the Onyx4 system to achieve their goals for data visualization.

Among Onyx4 capabilities that have revolutionized the Center is the ability to drive multiple displays with multiple applications simultaneously. The multi-pipe capability of the Onyx4 system has been used in teaching and other presentation situations where, for example, an animation of a protein structure is being displayed in stereo to a room of students using a passive stereo projector, while at the same time there are two additional CRT displays driving modeling applications in active stereo for one-to-one interaction with the system. Each application gets its own dedicated CPU and graphics pipe, all running from the same console controlled by a single operator. This opens up new possibilities for ACCRE in terms of how they are able to present data and lesson materials in an exciting and engaging manner for the audience.

"From a technology standpoint, SGI won out over everybody else. No other vendor but SGI has a single solution that meets all the criteria we required," said Jarrod Smith, director of ACCRE's Visualization Facility. "Researchers on the project have been using SGI solutions for many years and have come to recognize and trust SGI as a leader in high performance technical computing and visualization -- it seemed like a natural fit for us."

Vanderbilt chose the Onyx4 visualization system -- which was installed in February -- for the following criteria:

-- The scalability of the Onyx(R) platform allows researchers and educators to drive multiple display devices simultaneously, each with its own dedicated graphics pipeline -- Onyx facilitates growing the system to meet demand.

-- OpenGL(R) multi-pipe software on Onyx4 gives researchers the ability to run off-the-shelf OpenGL software and tile the software display across multiple physical display devices without requiring modifications to application software.

-- Onyx4 shared-memory single-system-image architecture provides a simple means of enabling hardware genlock and swap-ready synchronization. Researchers can synchronize stereo views across all display devices without modifying applications or requiring the development of software built with VR-aware APIs.

-- The Visual Area Networking technology of the Onyx4 system will make this resource available to anyone on campus, in their own office or lab, and at any time of the day or night. This greatly simplifies software licensing and security issues, and provides a convenient mechanism for researchers to gain access to state-of-the-art visualization tools.

"SGI is excited to have our Onyx4 system used to enhance Vanderbilt University's research facilities with the highest quality 3D visualization technology and computing power, therefore allowing them to tackle the toughest research projects in less time," said Shawn Underwood, director of product marketing, Visual Systems Group, SGI. "The Onyx4 system is the perfect solution for allowing both novice and experienced users to explore their data in new ways."

Vanderbilt's ACCRE resulted from a unique grass roots effort by a diverse group of faculty within the research community to encourage the administration to utilize its unique venture capital fund to build high-performance computing, storage, and visualization facilities. That group of 42 faculty members from three different schools was able to articulate the essential nature of state of the art computing and visualization technologies in order to remain competitive in multiple research arenas, as well as for achieving the University's essential mission of educating future generations of undergraduate and professional students. ACCRE facilities currently support applications from such diverse fields as geology, particle physics, nanoscience, microelectronics, biophysics, structural biology, proteomics, neuroscience, and human genetics.

About Onyx4 UltimateVision Family

The SGI Onyx4 UltimateVision Family transforms data into knowledge in an eye blink, affording users a competitive advantage in environments where processing data faster is a matter of survival. Powerful yet affordable, the system handles massive data sets, enabling researchers, scientists and developers to see and manipulate their results in a highly interactive environment. Based on the award-winning SGI(R) NUMAflex(TM) architecture, which provides independent scaling for the CPU, memory, storage, I/O, and visualization subsystems, Onyx4 UltimateVision solutions can be configured to meet the needs of a single user or an entire team.

SILICON GRAPHICS | The Source of Innovation and Discovery(TM)

SGI, also known as Silicon Graphics, Inc., is a world 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 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

NOTE: Silicon Graphics, SGI, Onyx, OpenGL, the SGI logo and the SGI cube are registered trademarks and Onyx4, UltimateVision, NUMAflex and The Source of Innovation and Discovery are trademarks of Silicon Graphics, Inc., in the United States and/or other countries worldwide. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

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HOTLINE, +1-650-933-7777, or SGI PR FACSIMILE, +1-650-933-0283, all of SGI.

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