Air Force Research Lab to host ribbon-cutting for Thunder supercomputer

Staff Report

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Department of Defense Supercomputer Resource Center (AFRL DSRC) here will host a 1 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony Dec. 14 for the DSRC’s “Thunder” supercomputer at AFRL’s Information Technology Complex.

Thunder began full operations Oct. 1, and is part of the DoD High Performance Computing Modernization Program Technology (HPCMP) Insertion 2015 program. It joins two other large systems, “Spirit” and “Lightning” already located at the AFRL DSRC. The $30 million Silicon Graphics Incorporated (SGI) ICE X is named “Thunder” to recognize the 70th Anniversary of the end of World War II after the Air Force’s P-47 “Thunderbolt” and also, its subsequent namesake, the A-10 aircraft, both of which played key roles in significant armed conflict for our nation.

The DSRC received the new supercomputer as a result of a $30 million award to SGI, as announced in December 2014.

Thunder is a powerful addition to the AFRL DSRC’s computing lineup and a key technology enabler for DoD researchers. The system will promote developmental weapon system design, facilitate the maturation and evaluation of advanced technologies, accelerate modification programs to existing critical warfighting systems, enable higher fidelity modeling & simulation, and support computational science & engineering applications. The system has already supported DoD “Frontier” projects investigating game changing technologies such as Hypersonics and Rail Gun research.

“Thunder’s capability is amazing, and reaffirms our commitment to providing our customers with world-class computational tools,” said Jeff Graham, AFRL DSRC Director. “The power of Thunder will drive solutions to the most challenging problems facing our nation in today’s volatile global environment.”

The newest supercomputer is the 20th fastest HPC system in the world and consists of:

• 125,888 compute cores

• 356 Intel Xeon Phi and 356 NVIDIA Tesla GPGPUs

• 443 terabytes of memory

• 12.4 petabytes of storage

The AFRL DSRC is one of five DoD HPCMP supercomputer centers that give DoD scientists and engineers the computing power and other resources they need to solve the military’s most demanding problems. Each center has a collection of HPC resources, high-speed networking, multi-petabyte archival mass storage, and customer support. The HPCMP established to promote the use of supercomputers within the department to help solve some of the toughest problems – such as those encountered in fluid dynamics research, structural mechanics, materials design, weapon systems design, operational effectiveness analysis, developmental testing, and climate and ocean modeling.

About the High Performance Computing Modernization Program

This program periodically renews the DoD’s supercomputers and its high speed networks with the goal to keep the DoD at the leading edge of technology. The HPCMP also provides expertise in software development and system design, thus creating a complete advanced computing environment for DOD scientists and engineers. This partnership puts advanced technology in the hands of U.S. fighting forces more quickly, less expensively, and with a greater degree of success. The HPCMP is managed on behalf of the DoD by the Army Engineer Research and Development Center.

Air Force Research Laboratory is the sole Air Force laboratory for advanced science and technology development. The laboratory’s global government workforce of approximately 6,000 executes a $2.1 billion Air Force science and technology program and an additional $2.3 billion in externally funded research and development supporting the air, space and cyberspace domains. Four of the laboratory’s nine technology directorates and AFRL’s headquarters are located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Staff Report

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