When 100 Flops/Watt was a Giant Leap: The Apollo Guidance Computer Hardware, Software and Application in Moon Missions

The IDEAS Productivity project, in partnership with the DOE Computing Facilities of the ALCF, OLCF, and NERSC and the DOE Exascale Computing Project (ECP) has resumed the webinar series on Best Practices for HPC Software Developers, which we began in 2016.

As part of this series, we offer one-hour webinars on topics in scientific software development and high-performance computing, approximately once a month. The next webinar, a special, is titled When 100 Flops/Watt was a Giant Leap: The Apollo Guidance Computer Hardware, Software and Application in Moon Missions, and will be presented by Mark Miller (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory). The webinar will take place on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at 1:00 pm ET.

Abstract:

Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo Moon landings, this webinar will describe the revolutionary computer, the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC). The AGC made autonomous travel to the Moon and back not only possible but added profoundly to crew safety, flight profile accuracy and even optimized propellant use to such an extent that final missions plans traded fuel for added weight in equipment and lunar samples. The webinar will give an overview of the AGC hardware architecture, the guidance software it executed as well as the pioneering efforts in developing both. HPC/CSE code teams will discover many familiar themes such as flops/watt power constraints and performance portability challenges. The webinar will conclude with several user stories about the actual operation of the AGC in various Apollo missions.