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SGI and the American Museum of Natural History Provide Groundbreaking Visualization - 04/1999

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SGI and the American Museum of Natural History Provide Groundbreaking Visualization to Enhance Understanding of the Galaxy

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA (April 26, 1999) -- Continuing to tackle the most demanding visual computing challenges, SGI (NYSE:SGI) said its Silicon Graphics® Onyx2TM visual workstation will be used to produce and project the world's first scientifically accurate 3D atlas of the Milky Way Galaxy. This real-time visualization of space will take place at the new Hayden Planetarium, part of the American Museum of Natural History's Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City, opening in 2000.

As the centerpiece of the Hayden's 68-foot "virtual dome" Space Theater, Silicon Graphics Onyx2 will manipulate massive scientific datasets containing billions of stars - 100,000 times larger than that of any other planetarium. The resulting 3D star map will also include close-ups of individual nebula, modeled from Hubble Telescope images, providing a one-of-a-kind experience for viewers, and further blurring the line between simulation and reality.

"Everyone remembers their first experience sitting in a planetarium and looking at stars," said Afshad Mistri, marketing manager for museums, SGI. "The new Hayden experience, with its high-resolution images and breathtaking visuals, is going to be so different that it will leave an enduring impression on everyone that experiences it. The museum has teamed up with scientists, astronomical artists, computer scientists and programmers to push the limits of what can be achieved in a planetarium experience."

The Hayden Planetarium's Space Theatre will be housed in the top half of an 87-foot sphere that appears to float inside a glass cube enclosure. When finished in early 2000, it will be the most technologically advanced theater of its kind, and the first in the world to rely on visual supercomputing for image generation on a large scale. The technology has many advantages over film projection because data content can be interactively controlled to show changing conditions in the galaxy, and can also be integrated with film and real-time graphics.

SGI is supplying the planetarium with a Silicon Graphics Onyx2 visual workstation with seven InfiniteReality2TM visualization subsystems. The workstation is a multiple configuration with 28 R12000TM 300-MHz processors, and has the ability to drive ultra-high-resolution displays. The ambitious project has brought together scientists, computer programmers, science visualization artists and video engineers from the museum, NASA, the San Diego Supercomputer Center and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

James Sweitzer, director of special projects at the American Museum of Natural History, said, "At the Rose Center for Earth and Space, our goal is to create a three-dimensional atlas of the universe, one that will be as important to the people of the twenty-first century as Mercator's maps were to explorers of the sixteenth century." Datasets that had previously been used only by NASA and other research institutions will now be shown to the public, increasing the general knowledge of space and the universe.

SGI is working closely with Trimension Systems Ltd., the system integrator for all aspects of the computer system, display system and show automation technology. Aechelon Technology is developing C-Galaxy, the image-generation software used to traverse star and astronomical databases in real time. Aechelon's video playback control software permits the merging of fully rendered sequences into the real-time traversal for flexible show programming.

The Onyx2TM InfiniteReality2TM workstation is the most advanced visualization platform on the market, and delivers the power needed to understand the most complex datasets and solve the most challenging problems. The workstations are indispensable in helping researchers, scientists and physicians perform important work that involves complex data visualization, including brain mapping, image-guided surgery, automobile design, oil drilling, protein folding and weather prediction.

This press release includes forward-looking statements regarding the future relationship between SGI and the Hayden Planetarium and the integration of certain SGI products into the Hayden Planetarium environment. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including the integration of certain SGI products into customer environments, that could cause actual results to differ materially from such forward-looking statements. For more information regarding potential risks, see the "Risk Factors" section of the most recent reports of SGI on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

SGI is a market leader in technical computing, offering the world's most powerful servers, supercomputers and visual workstations. SGI uniquely provides a broad range of high-performance computing and advanced graphics solutions that enable customers to understand and conquer their toughest computing problems. Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., with offices worldwide, the company is located on the Web at

Silicon Graphics, Onyx and InfiniteReality are registered trademarks, and SGI, Onyx2, InfiniteReality2 and the SGI logo are trademarks, of Silicon Graphics Inc. R12000 is a trademark of MIPS Technologies, Inc. used under license by Silicon Graphics, Inc. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.