Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

Wednesday December 23, 2015

How GPUs Help NORAD Track Santa As He Navigates The Globe

NORAD diligently monitors North American skies year-round for missiles, planes and other airborne objects. And on Christmas Eve that includes Saint Nick, which it tracks from the moment his sleigh lifts off via the NORAD Tracks Santa website. NORAD آ— the North American Aerospace Defense Command آ— tracks Santa using Cesium, an open-source WebGL globe and map engine shepherded by Analytical Graphics Inc., of Exton, Pa., which develops analysis and visualization software for the aerospace, intelligence and defense industries.

WebGL uses powerful GPUs to render images in a web page. This allows NORAD to show maps that capture everything from satellites to snowflakes in eye-catching detail, aided by support in the latest internet browsers. With more than 20 million people expected to view the NORAD site on Dec. 24, everything has to work smoothly. Viewers will be able to zoom in up close as Santa soars over mountains and dives down city avenues. "We make good use of NVIDIA hardware; it takes what we have to another dimension," Fili said.

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