High-Performance Computing

DOD continues push to boost supercomputing power

The Defense Department is continuing its year-long push to bulk up its supercomputing muscle with two recently awarded contracts under the High Performance Computing Modernization Program.

The Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Support Center at Huntsville, Ala., awarded two contracts, each for $30.75 million, to Silicon Graphics Federal and Cray under the far-reaching program, which was started in 1993 to upgrade DOD’s supercomputing infrastructure and use technological advances to support DOD operations.

The contract awarded to Silicon Graphics calls for the acquisition of supercomputing systems to perform complex calculations at DOD’s Supercomputing Resource Center for Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Cray’s contract calls for two Cray XC40 supercomputers and two Cray Sonexion storage systems to be located at the Navy Supercomputing Resource Center at Stennis Space Center, Miss., according to a company announcement. The supercomputers will produce high-resolution, coastal-ocean circulation and wave-model oceanography products supporting Navy and DOD operations.

The new contracts are part of “an historic year” for the program, Christine Cuicchi, the program’s associate director for HPC Centers, said in the Cray announcement. The program has now purchased more than $150 million in supercomputers during 2014, significantly boosting capacity at the program’s five supercomputing centers. The new Cray supercomputers, which will be installed in 2015, will boost the Navy center’s capacity by two-and-a-half times, she said.

Among the other contracts awarded this year was a deal with Silicon Graphics in October for a 4.6-petaflop SGI ICE X supercomputer and an InfiniteStorage 5600 storage system at the Army Engineer Research and Development Center.

The drive for supercomputing advances is continuing in other realms as well. Earlier this month, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity awarded contracts to kick off a five-year program to develop cryogenic computing that could create a superconducting computer that can operate at exascale capacity, or about 40 times faster than today’s fastest supercomputers, while requiring less power.

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