IBM News From Deep Blue to Deep Space IBM RS/6000 Technology Explores New Worlds; Takes on Great Challenges at Home Somers, New York, July 7, 1997 -- The same IBM RS/6000 technology that took on Chess Grand Master Garry Kasparov has delivered NASA's Pathfinder to a safe landing on Mars. From Deep Blue to deep space, IBM technology is exploring new worlds, will be powering the world's fastest supercomputer in the future, and is serving as host for the most popular Web sites of our time. The flight computer aboard the Pathfinder, the RAD 6000, is based on a version of IBM's RS/6000 technology. The RAD 6000 is the most powerful on-board flight computer ever used by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the first commercially based processor to travel into deep space. The computer, supplied by Lockheed Martin Federal Systems in Manassas, Virginia, contains a radiation-hardened single chip implementation of the RS/6000 processor. The RAD 6000 was responsible for over 100 pyro (explosive) events that allowed the Pathfinder to land safely on Mars, including deploying the parachutes, inflating the airbags, and firing the retro rockets. In the coming month, the flight computer will continue to control such important activities as establishing and maintaining communications with Earth, Mars and the Sojourner rover, managing both the lander camera that will bring back images of the Martian landscape, and directing the lander's meteorological station used to study the makeup of the Martian atmosphere. NASA developed the Pathfinder in less than three years at a cost of approximately $170 million, or less than the price of some major motion pictures. This budget signals NASA's commitment to doing more with less in an age of fiscal restraint. Economies were achieved by using commercially available hardware, like the RS/6000, which allowed NASA to more quickly begin developing specialized software for the mission. RS/6000 background The selection for the Pathfinder mission is a tribute to the performance and reliability of RS/6000 technology. More than 600,000 RS/6000 systems are in use by over 100,000 commercial and technical customers around the world. The RS/6000 is IBM's family of computers that feature the Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC)-based PowerPC* chip and AIX*, IBM's UNIX**-based operating system. IBM's RS/6000 products range in size and capability from laptops, workstations, workgroup and enterprise servers, to the RS/6000 SP*, the flagship "supercomputer" that challenged Kasparov. From businesses working to become more efficient and profitable, to governments and universities seeking to solve the greatest challenges of our time, the RS/6000 supports a wide range of applications and provides the reliability, availability, and price/performance that today's information technology managers demand. Among the many high-profile applications of RS/6000 technology: * The Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore Laboratory selected IBM to build what will be the world's fastest supercomputer, an RS/6000 SP. When complete, the computer will serve as a watchdog for the nation's nuclear stockpile -- allowing scientists to develop 3D simulations to analyze the effects of aging on our nation's nuclear weapons. In a White House press conference, President Clinton said the computer will calculate in one second what it would take someone with a hand-held computer 30,000 years to do. * With more than 2,500 systems installed around the world, nearly 40 percent of the U.S. Fortune 100 companies have selected the RS/6000 SP for such demanding applications as data warehousing, online transaction processing, enterprise resource planning, and server consolidation. The world's most successful companies rely on the SP to: access and update huge data bases, including airline and hotel reservation systems; identify consumer buying habits that improve profitability and reduce expenses; coordinate the disparate departments of global corporations; and power the Web sites that attract millions of visitors each day. * The IBM RS/6000 is rapidly becoming the Web server of choice -- powering sites as demanding as the U.S. Tennis Open, Wimbledon, and the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta. Leading companies have recognized the performance and scalability of the RS/6000, including Charles Schwab. Schwab uses RS/6000 to accommodate the rapid growth of its online trading service -- which allows its customers to buy and sell securities over the Internet. * Automakers, airline manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies around the world are reducing business costs and bringing products to market faster by using RS/6000 workstations and servers to design and develop new products. In Dresden, Germany, RS/6000 workstations are helping to rebuild die Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), one of Europe's most treasured architectural landmarks that was destroyed during Allied Forces bombing raids in World War II. Additional information can be found at the following web sites: * From Deep Blue to deep space: IBM RS/6000 technology lands NASA's Pathfinder on Mars (courtesy of the IBM home page) * NASA Pathfinder Mission ----------------------------------------------------------------- * Indicates trademark or registered trademark of International Business Machines Corporation. ** UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries, licensed exclusively through X/Open Company Ltd. AIX Version 4.2 is branded X/Open UNIX 95, signifying full compliance with the Single UNIX Specification (formerly known as Spec 1170).