SGI has released the Silicon Graphics Prism Linux-based visual computer product line.
Applications include cancer research, disaster preparedness, oil exploration and car safety analysis. These applications involve large amounts of data and typical commodity graphics systems must break the data into smaller chunks for graphics processing. This process is time-consuming and imperfect. Silicon Graphics Prism was designed to address terabyte-sized, highly complex data as a single contiguous data set in memory. Users can quickly grasp complex relationships within their data.
University researchers can use the system to collaborate with distant colleagues more easily. Oil exploration teams can see seismic data in greater detail, drug discovery researchers can run proteomic simulations interactively and emergency management personnel can model disaster scenarios. The Silicon Graphics Prism family scales up to 16 graphics pipelines and 512 processors.
To simplify and accelerate running applications the platform uses QuickTransit, allowing software applications compiled for one processor and operating system to run on another processor and operating system without any source code or binary changes. Researchers, scientists and engineers currently running applications on other SGI systems based on the MIPS processor and IRIX operating system can run these applications on the new system. QuickTransit allows software developers to quickly provide a solution on Silicon Graphics Prism while circumventing the often lengthy and expensive process of completing a full native port.
Silicon Graphics Prism is built on a foundation of SGI NUMAflex shared-memory architecture. It gives the system the large, complex data memory needed for real time technical environments. A combination of Intel Itanium 2 processors, the Linux operating system and standards-based graphics accelerators from ATI make the system powerful but economical.
SGI's cross-platform OpenGL Performer and OpenGL Volumizer application programming interfaces (APIs) provide graphics functionality high fidelity.