IT Coalition at SC16’


SC 16

Information Technology Coalition, Inc. (ITC) attended SC16’ in Salt Lake City, Utah on behalf of the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS). SC16’ is an international supercomputing conference that brings together researchers, scientist, and IT professionals to share developments and innovations in high performance computing (HPC).

During the conference, HPCWire, an HPC publication, awarded the 2016 Readers’ Choice Award in “Best Data-Intensive System (End-User Focused)” to the Advanced Data Analytics Platform (ADAPT) at the NCCS. Members of the ADAPT team included ITC employees that assisted with the development of this new platform.


Created from the ground up, ADAPT is a private cloud that uses high-performance computing and virtualization technologies. The platform provides NASA Scientists with a platform to access large amounts of research data related to the climate and environment. The platform is highly versatile allowing the ADAPT team to develop custom operating system environments for users and to maintain a large data repository that includes multiple petabytes of observational datasets to assist scientists. Additionally, the ADAPT environment was developed predominantly using open source tools such as QEMU-KVM and Puppet.

“The creation of ADAPT has given scientists the ability to get more science done per unit of time,” said Garrison Vaughan, ADAPT Systems Engineer/Administrator and ITC employee.

“Before scientists would download multiple terabytes of data to local space on one of their computers. They would conduct their science against it and then delete the information to free up space and download more. This would take a lot of time and scientist would have to trim back on the amount of research they could complete,” he said. Instead, ADAPT aims to provide scientists computing environments they are accustomed to (Debain, CentOS, Windows), which also have high-speed access to large holdings of popular datasets.

Currently, NASA is using ADAPT for the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) where scientists are studying environmental changes and its impact on socio-ecological systems. Other scientists are using the system to count trees and shrubs in the sub-Saharan Africa to calculate carbon uptake.

The ADAPT team is preparing for the next iteration of the system, which includes moving towards a free provided cloud infrastructure called OpenStack. The new release is expected sometime next year.