Supercomputer details ocean for DOD
- By Dan Caterinicchia, Dan Caterinicchia
- Aug 04, 2000
The Naval Oceanographic Office this week began using a new IBM Corp. supercomputer
to perform research that may help prevent maritime disasters.
The fourth-largest supercomputer in the world and the most powerful
one in the Defense Department's arsenal, the IBM RS/6000 SP will be used
to assemble detailed models of ocean waves, currents and temperatures.
The models will enable scientists to predict the behavior of the world's
oceans with increased precision, helping to improve safety for military
operations, as well as commercial shipping and search and rescue missions
at sea. The supercomputer also will be used to forecast weather patterns
that are influenced by the ocean, including "El Nino."
Other DOD applications for the supercomputer include designing stronger
aircraft and simulating battlefield environments.
The new machine can process 2 trillion calculations per second and is
nearly 170 times more powerful than IBM's "Deep Blue" supercomputer, which
gained notoriety in 1997 for defeating world chess champion Garry Kasparov.
The supercomputer was installed by Logicon, a Northrop Grumman Co., at Stennis
Space Center, Miss.
"We didn't want to get very accurate weather forecasting that took six
days of computing time to get a five-day forecast," Serge Polevitzky, program
manager for Logicon at the Naval Oceanographic Office.
The new two-teraflop machine uses the computing power of 1,336 IBM Power3-II
"We are extremely pleased the significant computational capability that
this system will bring to the Department of Defense," said Landry Bernard,
technical director at the Naval Oceanographic Office. "High performance-technology
of this magnitude gives us unparalleled capabilities in the daily ocean
and global scale modeling we perform to support worldwide DOD operations."
"From a pure computer standpoint, these applications push the bounds
of the machine," said Peter Ungaro, vice president of sales and marketing
at IBM, adding that the computer was delivered about two months after the
order was received. Six vendors competed for the $18 million contract last