Eagle has landed at Wright-Patterson

Defense Department officials received a multimillion-dollar supercomputer from Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) last month that now ranks as the most powerful in the military.

The SGI Altix supercomputer uses 2,048 1.6 GHz Intel Itanium 2 processors with 2 terabytes of memory, the SGI NUMAlink interconnect, 128 terabytes of disk storage and the Linux operating system. During a test at the company’s manufacturing facility in Chippewa Falls, Wis., the supercomputer achieved the Linpack benchmark performance of 11.636 teraflops per second – or trillions of calculations per second -- while operating at more than 90 percent efficiency, according to a statement released today by SGI officials.

Military researchers will use the supercomputer, called Eagle, in modeling and simulation, test and evaluation, and weapons system design. It will reside at the Air Force's Aeronautical Systems Center Major Shared Resource Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and expands the center's SGI supercomputing capability to more than 4,100 processors across five separate shared-memory systems.

Military and industry officials praised the new supercomputer.

"In our efforts to serve more than 1,000 researchers throughout [DOD], we needed a supercomputer with industry-leading capability, scalability, production quality, ease of use and the ability to handle massive amounts of data," said Steve Wourms, director of the Aeronautical Systems Center Major Shared Resource Center, in the statement.

DOD scientists can use the SGI machine's shared-memory system to simulate entire battles, aircraft and weapons systems with unprecedented fidelity, said Benn Stratton, SGI Federal’s national director of the defense and civilian agencies business unit.

In addition to breaking military computing performance records, the project set new ones for speed of implementation. Officials only need 90 days from the contract award to make the supercomputer fully operational, Wourms said. Center officials continue to test the supercomputer in preparation for use. Center employees soon will start to use it in a limited capacity before it goes fully operational in June, he said.

Officials at the Aeronautical Systems Center Major Shared Resource Center also announced today that they increased the center's computer storage capability and bandwidth twofold to a 4 gigabit infrastructure to handle the military's growing data requirements.

The center now has a 130 terabyte SGI InfiniteStorage TP9700 storage array with eight, 4 gigabits/sec host channels handling up to 1,600 megabits/sec of bandwidth. Equipment includes Brocade Communications Systems' SilkWorm 4100 4 gigabits/sec midrange switches for creating a redundant storage network, SGI officials said.

The supercomputer, storage and switch hardware purchases come under a $13 million contract managed by officials at the Federal Technology Service of the General Services Administration for DOD’s High Performance Computing Modernization Program for fiscal 2005.


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