Supercomputing Enters a Renaissance Driven by a Demand for High Productivity, Declares SGI

Company to Demonstrate New High-Productivity Supercomputing Solutions at Supercomputing 2002

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (Nov. 11, 2002)--SGI (NYSE: SGI) today announced a differentiated strategy to meet the evolved needs of scientific and technical high-performance computing (HPC) users. This class of users is confronting escalating complexity from enormous data sources such as satellite scans, seismic monitoring, long-range global climate data and full-body medical scans. At the same time, users have a competitive necessity for improved productivity and increased collaboration. These evolved requirements are changing the way supercomputer systems are designed--a supercomputing renaissance in which the HPC market is coalescing around a more efficient, balanced system design. The result is a shift in the way HPC is defined from solely high-performance to include high-productivity computing. SGI ushers in this new era of supercomputing with a number of new product announcements over the coming weeks and months.

"The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers. SGI systems deliver to technical, scientific and creative users the benefits of deeper insights," said Bob Bishop, CEO of SGI. "This can only come from bringing the highest performance computation, enormous data handling and interactive visualization into a unified system. And SGI has plans to extend this technology further to new platforms."

A Supercomputing Industry Renaissance
The revolutionary ideas of the Renaissance period in history came about when the most brilliant minds of the time reached out to advance the relationships between disparate bodies of knowledge-science, art, war, religion, economy and humanism. The modern-day renaissance thinkers are poised to bring about new breakthroughs in medicine, energy, entertainment and engineering. But with the massive explosion of data today, they need new tools to turn their explorations into meaningful insight.

"We are very impressed with the strategy SGI is putting in place," said Debra Goldfarb, group vice president, worldwide systems and servers, IDC. "The HPC industry is entering a new chapter in which economic conditions and fierce competition are forcing businesses to change the way they utilize their computing resources. Efficiently managing and using data in this highly competitive world is central to companies processing information and turning it into superior decisions. By providing a balanced approach to system design that combines innovative technology and a highly optimized development environment, SGI is clearly on the right track."

"While processors and disks have grown in capacity at Moore's Law rates, the size of data has grown twice as fast. The bottleneck is in the memory subsystem. The technology that interconnects these components on most systems is where latency problems are occurring," said Steve Miller, chief engineer, SGI. "SGI is focused on delivering a key enabling technology for productive HPC computing--the NUMAflex architecture. This interconnect technology binds together all the components of a system with ultrafast results." Miller is also a principal investigator on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) high-performance computing systems program.

According to Bishop, "SGI is involved in more large-scale data management and visualization projects than ever, transforming complex data into high-fidelity images in a way that takes one's breath away. No one else in the IT industry has dedicated themselves entirely to breaking through the bonds of linear, two-dimensional thinking. No one else has broken out into interactive, immersive, multidimensional space and time. Only SGI."

SGI's expanded HPC strategy addresses the four driving factors that are shaping this supercomputing renaissance.

  • Emphasis on high-productivity computing with a balanced system design--DARPA has determined "productivity" essential for a new generation of scalable, high-performance computing systems. In June 2002, SGI was selected by DARPA to participate in a concept study for a new vision of high-performance computing that emphasizes productivity rather than unattainable theoretical performance. (See SGI press release dated June 19, 2002, at

  • Demand for density with ever higher performance in the same or smaller footprint--Scientists, engineers, researchers and analysts in HPC environments in a variety of markets, from life sciences to national defense, are under pressure to acquire more computing power in less space--from computer labs to submarines to cockpits to eyepieces.

  • Instant access to terascale data--"Humankind will generate more original information over the next three years than was created in the previous 300,000 years combined," according to a new study from the School of Information Management and Systems at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1999 the world created about 1.5 exabytes of unique information--which is 1.5 billion gigabytes, or the equivalent of 250 megabytes of new information for every man, woman and child in the world. According to the study, that number is expected to double every year for the foreseeable future, even without counting the multiple copies that most information generates. (To view the study, visit HPC organizations face a fundamental challenge in data management: fast access to enormous volumes of information.

  • The trend toward global collaborative networks to access supercomputing resources--The development of grid computing, giving scientists and engineers ready access to supercomputing resources, is a trend that has been gaining acceptance in recent years. In addition, more organizations are enabling users across a globally extended network the capability to visualize and interact with centrally processed data for the purpose of collaboration.
SGI Meets the Challenge: Supercomputing 2002
SGI is meeting the challenge posed by this emerging renaissance by solutions geared for high productivity--more flexible, balanced hardware design; increased density, providing access to terascale data; and global collaboration. The company will debut its latest HPC products and solutions at the Supercomputing 2002 (SC2002) exhibition, in Baltimore, Md. (Booth #1521).

Featured products include a new model of the SGI® Origin® 3000 family, also announced today, and the upcoming system based on the Intel® Itanium® 2 processor running the Linux® operating system.

Additionally, the company will feature a number of presentations by SGI executives and prominent HPC user organizations in a 20-foot-wide SGI® Reality CenterTM facility immersive visualization facility powered by an SGI® Onyx® 3000 series supercomputer with InfiniteReality4TM graphics. Within this unique Reality Center environment, SGI will conduct immersive collaboration sessions, including wide-area link-ups to both European and U.S. locations. The presentations will detail breakthrough accomplishments in application areas such as energy, manufacturing, life sciences, and government and defense. Other booth demonstrations will address the following:

  • New design breakthrough enables high-productivity supercomputing: The newest member of the SGI Origin 3000 supercomputer family combines modular computing with optimum application performance and extreme scalability. The new system also sets a standard for dense packaging, delivering up to four times the shared computational density without the need for more physical space (separately announced today).

  • Expanded HPC strategy includes Linux focus: SGI will be previewing the world's most powerful Linux supercomputer at SC2002. The new SGI® supercomputer combines 64 Intel Itanium 2 microprocessors with the SGI® NUMAflexTM shared-memory architecture and will be running a standard 64-bit distribution of the Linux operating system. SGI will be demonstrating production scalability to 64 processors with applications in manufacturing, life sciences and computational fluid dynamics.

  • Unique high-productivity and visualization capabilities for grid computing will be demonstrated: SGI will demonstrate the power of grid and Visual Area Networking technology combined to navigate through brain images rendered on an Onyx 3000 series visualization system at the Montreal Neurological Institute. SGI® OpenGL VizserverTM software will serve fully interactive images to the SGI booth (#1521) over the grid, which includes CA*net3, the high-bandwidth network of CANARIE, Inc., Canada's advanced Internet development organization, Québec's RISQ (Réseau d'Informations Scientifique du Québec) network and Internet2.

  • Visual Area Networking illustrates how users of thin clients and UNIX® desktops can visually interact with and analyze complex problems and collaborate with colleagues located great distances apart and using clients running multiple operating systems to facilitate decisions and increase productivity. Only SGI provides Visual Area Networking capabilities that can deliver advanced graphics capabilities to every access station in a grid environment.

  • High-speed shared data access for multi-platform networks: SGI extends supercomputer-class data access to multiplatform environments including IRIX®, SolarisTM, and Windows® with SGI® CXFSTM shared SAN filesystem software. SGI CXFS combines the performance and scalability of a SAN with the connectivity and file sharing of network-attached storage (NAS) to provide fast access to volumes of information and seamless multiple operating system integration.
For more information about SGI products, services and solutions, visit the SGI booth, #1521, at Supercomputing 2002 or visit the Web site at

This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding the SGI Origin 3000 series and SGI's unreleased Linux supercomputer that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in such statements. The reader is cautioned not to rely unduly on these forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of future performance. Such risks and uncertainties include the timely production of the new SGI Origin 3000 supercomputer in sufficient volume to meet demand; the development and deployment of the unreleased Linux supercomputer product; the impact of competitive markets, products and pricing; the acceptance of applicable technologies by markets and customers; the ability of the company to manage a complex set of engineering, marketing and distribution relationships; 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.

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.

Silicon Graphics, SGI, Onyx, IRIX, Origin, InfiniteReality, OpenGL and the SGI logo are registered trademarks and Reality Center, InfiniteReality4, NUMAflex, OpenGL Vizserver, CXFS and XFS are trademarks of Silicon Graphics, Inc., in the U.S. and/or other countries worldwide. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. Intel and Itanium are registered trademarks of Intel Corporation. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the U.S. and other countries. Windows is a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.