Navy inks supercomputer deals

Showing that there's a future for big iron in the service, three Naval organizations recently signed supercomputer agreements.

The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, San Diego paid $5.86 million for two Hewlett-Packard Co. Superdome servers after it passed acceptance testing last month, said Tom LaPuzza, an SSC San Diego spokesman. They plan to use one server for classified shallow-water surveillance and the other for unclassified shipboard antenna modeling, he said.

Each server runs the HP-UX Unix operating system and has 48 processors with 48G of memory, as well as 1G of disk storage space and 10.5G of tape storage, LaPuzza said. For 18 months, SSC San Diego has used two HP V2500 servers, which have 32 processors and 32G of memory, he said.

Next month, SSC San Diego will purchase an HP workstation with a 64-way Itanium processor, LaPuzza said. And in June, the center plans to buy an eight-processor HP Itanium server.

Purchasing the Itanium server and workstation helps give SSC San Diego a path to a single operating environment because Itanium processors can run Microsoft Corp. Windows NT and HP-UX operating systems, and related applications.

The Navy's High Performance Computing site at Patuxent River, Md., purchased two 28-processor Silicon Graphics Inc. Onyx 3400 supercomputers for $4 million, said Barbara Cook, site manager there.

The Naval Air Systems Command will use the machines to do aircraft simulation and training. Through the agreement with SGI, the command also receives upgrades to its network and storage-area networks, and its SGI Onyx2 machines. The machines run SGI's Unix operating system, IRIX.

The Naval Research Laboratory, meanwhile, recently awarded Logicon Inc., a $5.8 million task order for installation and service of a Cray Inc. MTA-2 supercomputer. Logicon will install it at the lab by the end of fiscal 2001, according to a company announcement.

The task order, made through the General Services Administration's Federal Systems Integration and Management Center under Logicon's Millennia contract, could have a total value of $25.9 million if NRL exercises its options over several years.

The Defense Department HPC Modernization Program paid for the three Navy supercomputer purchases.

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