MRO Magazine

SC15 Selects Numerical Aerodynamic Simulation Program for the Test of Time Award

May 20, 2015
By Business Wire News


The Supercomputing Conference (SC15) Test of Time Award Committee has recognized “The NAS Parallel Benchmarks – Summary and Preliminary Results” written by D. Bailey, E. Barszcz, J. Barton, D. Browning, R. Carter, L. Dagum, R. Fatoohi, P. Frederickson, T. Lasinski, R. Schreiber, H. Simon, V. Venkatakrishnan, and S. Weeratunga from the SC91 conference as the SC15 Test of Time Award (ToTA) paper for this year.

The ToTA recognizes an outstanding paper that has appeared at the SC conference and has deeply influenced the HPC discipline. It is a mark of historical impact and recognition that the paper has changed HPC trends, and will be presented at the SC15 conference in a non-plenary session and the authors will be asked to give a presentation on the work in Austin, TX in November 2015. To view this specific paper, go to:

“The paper and benchmark captures specifications and implementations of an important set of representative scientific codes,” said Jack Dongarra, SC15 Test of Time Award Chair from University of Tennessee, Knoxville. “The work is still actively used, and has inspired numerous sets of benchmarking codes that continue to drive research and development innovation.”

In 1991, this team of computer scientists from the Numerical Aerodynamic Simulation Program—predecessor to the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility at Ames Research Center—unveiled the NAS Parallel Benchmarks (NPB), developed in response to the U.S. space agency’s increasing involvement with massively-parallel architectures and the need for a more rational procedure to select supercomputers to support agency missions. Then, existing benchmarks were usually specialized for vector computers, with shortfalls including parallelism-impeding tuning restrictions and insufficient problem sizes, making them inappropriate for highly-parallel systems.

The NPBs mimic computation and data movement of large-scale computational fluid dynamics (CFD) applications, and provide objective evaluation of parallel HPC architectures. The original NPBs featured “pencil-and-paper” specifications, which bypassed many difficulties associated with standard benchmarking methods for sequential or vector systems. The principal focus was in computational aerophysics, although most of these benchmarks have broader relevance for many real-world scientific computing applications.

The NPBs quickly became an industry standard and have since been implemented in many modern programming paradigms. Since 1991, research areas influenced by the NPBs have broadened to include network design, programming languages, compilers, and tools. Google Scholar yields over 27,000 results for the NBPs, with about 7,400 citations since 2014.

Today’s version is alive and well, and continues to significantly influence NASA projects. It is used around the world by national labs, universities, and computer vendors to evaluate sustained performance of highly-parallel supercomputers and the capability of parallel compilers and tools.

For more information on the award, visit:

for SC15
Brian Ban, 773.454.7423