Dr. James Fischer
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Jim Fischer first came to the Goddard Space Flight Center in 1971 through a cooperative work study program while an engineering undergraduate at North Carolina State University. He started full time at Goddard in 1974, hired into a group doing pioneering work in the, at that time, nonexistent field of massively parallel computing, and by 1983 was group lead. His group’s Massively Parallel Processor (manufactured under contract by Goodyear Aerospace Corporation and made operational at Goddard in 1985) and first Beowulf Linux cluster (assembled at Goddard in 1994) each led to major advances in how supercomputing was done worldwide and both are now in museum collections. During the 1990s, Jim led the application of these high-end computing technologies to NASA science problems as part of the Federal High Performance Computing and Communications Program. Today these technologies power much of the world’s computing infrastructure including at NASA, where a prime application is running numerical models that make use of NASA satellite data to better understand the Earth and its changing climate. Since retiring in 2014, Jim has continued to document Goddard’s unique contributions in the advancement of high-end computing, while giving considerable time to community service in the Greenbelt, Maryland area.
Space Technology Hall of Fame: Beowulf Computing Clusters
Originally aired: July 6, 2022