Defense's largest investment in supercomputing leads to Army R&D synergy in predictive modeling

October 11, 2012

Story Highlights

  • Teams of Army experts have spent the last five months laying the groundwork for a computational powerhouse at the Department of Defense Supercomputing Resource Center (DSRC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
  • The HPCM program funded two new IBM iDataPlex systems for the ARL DSRC that are built upon Intel's Sandy Bridge processor. The second of the two systems will be delivered to ARL's DSRC on Oct. 1.
  • DoD's High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) announced the historic investment of $105 million in computer system infrastructure upgrades at the nation's five DOD Supercomputing Resource Centers on May 16.

Teams of Army experts have spent the last five months laying the groundwork for a computational powerhouse at the Department of Defense Supercomputing Resource Center (DSRC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

DoD's High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) announced the historic investment of $105 million in computer system infrastructure upgrades at the nation's five DoD Supercomputing Resource Centers on May 16.

"The collective R&D organizations at APG following the 2008 Base Realignment and Closure will have a predictive modeling and simulation capability that was not possible before," said Dr. Raju Namburu, chief, Computational Sciences Division, Computational and Information Sciences Directorate, U.S. Army Research Laboratory. "As we transition to the new systems, our support to research challenges most critical to our national defense will remain seamless."

The HPCM program funded two new IBM iDataPlex systems for the ARL DSRC that are built upon Intel's Sandy Bridge processor. The second of the two systems will be delivered to ARL's DSRC on Oct. 1.

Putting the power, speed and memory into perspective, the systems' combined storage capacity of six PetaBytes is "enough capacity to store two billion average size MP3 songs," said Thomas Kendall, technical director, ARL DSRC.

"In four hours, the center's computers can perform the same number of mathematic operations as the seven-billion-strong world population can calculate in their lifetimes, if each person completed one operation every second, without rest over a seventy year lifespan," Kendall said. "We are enabling the science of the future."

While the systems are normally upgraded every two to three years, the latest HPCMP upgrade comes along with a modern, better-equipped building, said Lee Ann Brainard, deputy director, ARL DSRC.

"The new building will provide the floor space, power and cooling to house all future ARL DSRC computing resources under one roof, where in previous years we have been spread between two buildings," Brainard said. This DoD Technology Insertion "...will carry us from teraflop computing into the petaflop computing range," she said.

The ARL DSRC capabilities will enable the recently established Enterprise for Multiscale Research of Materials, in partnership with academia, to scale from atom to continuum.

The ARL DSRC capabilities advantage will also open doors for the Army Test and Evaluation community to address computational and I/O intensive requirements, and will strengthen multi-disciplinary computational capabilities across Army R&D, Namburu said.

"Our focus is on the warfighter. We will be able to address most critical computational material science problems we face in the DoD today to better equip the warfighters," Namburu said.

 

Last Update / Reviewed: October 11, 2012