Military has mini supercomputer in works
- By Kathleen Hickey
- Dec 16, 2008
Military personnel could soon have the power of a supercomputer in a wearable, 1-pound box. The mini-supercomputer is based on a 5.6-inch wide, 3.3-inch high, 1-inch deep unit, according to a report by NextGov.com.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation, a public-private partnership providing financial backing for Bloomington-based MNB Technologies, developer of the technology, said that the company "is on the verge of a technology breakthrough that could put the power of a supercomputer on the belt of America's military," NextGov reported.
The device can process between 8 and 10 gigaflops, or about eight to four times the processing power of a standard PC. One gigaflop equals 1 billion floating operations per second. An average PC processor operates between 1 and 2 gigaflops.
The computer’s power can be increased by linking it to similar size devices, each operating at 15 gigaflops, that communicate with the main system over a wireless connection, according to Nick Grann, MNB’s chief executive officer.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will be using a version of the supercomputer for a field-portable modeling, simulation, and training system called “Simulation Center in a Box” for the Army under a subcontract to Cole Engineering Services of Orlando, Fla. Cole Engineering will be developing the server and client application software, creating deployment strategies and performing system integration for the technology.
The Simulation Center in a Box would allow battalions to conduct simulated exercises in the field, said John Stevens, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Cole, speaking to NextGov.
The wearable mini-supercomputer could support other computationally heavy military requirements such as integrating map and imagery data in the field, Granny said, as well as merging graphics and imagery in the cockpits of military or civilian aircraft.
Non-military uses could include augmented reality, earth resource exploration, telemedicine, air traffic control and homeland security, said the company.
Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.