December 05, 2005
Silicon Graphics announced that the
Warhead Performance and Target Response Branch at the Naval Surface
Warfare Center (NSWC), Indian Head, Md., has purchased SGI
Altix server and SGI InfiniteStorage solutions to provide
reliable quantitative predictions of the vulnerability and
survivability of targets for existing and prospective U.S. Navy
warheads. Armed with state-of-the-art computational and storage
resources from SGI, NSWC-Indian Head is now better able to simulate
target response to underwater explosions with sufficient fidelity to
evaluate the effectiveness of current and future Navy weapons systems.
"The addition of the new Altix servers and InfiniteStorage systems
from SGI allow our scientists and engineers to conduct analyses on
larger and more complex problems than we were able to attempt in the
past," said Amos Dare, manager of the Warhead Performance and Target Response
Branch at NSWC-Indian Head. "It is now possible to conduct large
three-dimensional computations, enabling faster full 3-D analyses of
The Warhead Performance and Target Response Branch at NSWC-Indian
Head serves as the principal source of expertise for the U.S. Navy in
the area of underwater explosion phenomenology and its application to
target damage. In April, the branch purchased two SGI Altix 350
mid-range servers, each configured with 32 Intel Itanium 2
processors and 32GB of memory, as well as 6TB of SGI InfiniteStorage
TP9300 RAID, to perform end-to-end simulations using highly complex,
specialized software codes. Both the SGI server and storage systems are
tied to a high-speed InfiniBand networking switch, enabling the Navy
customer to run hydrocodes used to model underwater explosions on the
two 32-processor SGI Altix 350 systems or to run code utilizing all 64
InfiniBand is the only 10Gb per second transport that enables
industry standard servers to be clustered together for reliable,
available, scaleable and high performance enterprise computing. The
InfiniBand solution for the SGI Altix family of servers addresses
typical bottlenecks and provides technical customers like NSWC-Indian
Head with a world-class clustering solution for their most demanding
application workloads, such as accurately modeling and simulating the
complex interactions between underwater explosions and physical
structures such as surface ships, submarines and mines.
"The Warhead Performance and Target Response Branch at NSWC-Indian
Head is the premier scientific research laboratory supporting the
Navy's most challenging underwater warhead problems," said Thomas
Stanley director of defense and intelligence at SGI. "The lab
needed a server/storage solution that was powerful enough and versatile
enough to support a variety of hydrocodes used to model underwater
explosions near structures such as ships, submarines, and submerged or
buried mines. The SGI Altix 350 and InfiniteStorage TP9300 coupled with
InfiniBand interconnect technology is the perfect solution capable of
modeling the entire underwater explosion phenomena including
detonation, shock physics, and bubble dynamics, among others."
Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, D.C., has purchased
SGI visualization and SGI InfiniteStorage solutions to help
visualize, store and share data for critical applications, including
immersive real-time visualization of satellite imagery, computational
fluid dynamics, ocean and weather modeling, and space physics.
"NRL is the premier scientific research laboratory within the
Department of Defense supporting scientists from various disciplines
such as chemistry, computational fluid dynamics, biochemistry, space
physics, and many others," said Stanley. "The lab needed a visualization solution
that was powerful enough and versatile enough to accommodate many
different types of scientific applications. The Silicon Graphics Prism
system is designed from the ground up to solve the most challenging
visualization problems facing scientists and engineers."
A complete, advanced visualization system for Linux and one of
the largest Silicon Graphics Prism systems in the United States powered by
128 Intel Itanium 2 processors was specifically designed to help
technical professionals like those at NRL address some of the world's
most critical problems. With the Silicon Graphics Prism, SGI has
combined standards-based Intel Itanium 2 processors and the Linux
operating environment with SGI's advanced graphics for visual performance and shared-memory architecture.
One of the missions of the visualization laboratory at NRL is the
development of new techniques, algorithms and methodologies to cope
with the very large datasets that are being created by the scientific
community that NRL serves. In particular, the area of computational
fluid dynamics and GIS image analysis research have yielded terabytes
of data that researchers at NRL extract and analyze for important flow
features buried within these huge datasets.
Using a Silicon Graphics Prism visualization system and SGI
InfiniteStorage technology, NRL has created a DoD-wide resource for
researchers to visualize their complex data, store it and share it
among multidisciplinary teams. This resource makes possible the kinds
of scientific breakthroughs required to advance a broad range of
scientific research, technology and advanced development directed
toward maritime applications that are vital to conducting U.S. Navy and
Marine Corps operations in the 21st century.
"We have a host of real-world scientific visualization problems that
are benefiting from this visualization-storage solution from SGI," said
Hank Dardy, chief scientist for advanced computing at NRL's Center
for Computational Science. "Built on the SGI NUMAflex shared-memory
architecture, our Silicon Graphics Prism visualization system has the
large, complex data memory functionality we needed for our real-time
technical environments. In addition, with an SGI storage area network
coupled with the CXFS shared filesystem, we can read and write data
directly over the SAN to and from disk, eliminating duplication and
bottlenecks for our data-intensive applications."
Earlier this year, NRL purchased a 128-processor Silicon Graphics
Prism visualization system, powered by Intel Itanium 2 processors and
running the Linux operating environment. To store huge volumes of
data, the lab installed 56TB of SGI InfiniteStorage TP9700 Fibre
Channel RAID array, the industry's first Fibre Channel storage array
equipped with 4Gb per second interfaces, whose disk space is shared as
an SGI InfiniteStorage CXFS clustered filesystem. By eliminating
network data overhead, latencies and copies, CXFS enables the typical
data-intensive workflow to complete 20 to 80 percent faster, while reducing
the administration overhead, speeding backups and reducing disk needed.
Government research laboratories like NRL are also increasingly
turning to InfiniBand interconnect solutions to dramatically improve
performance, efficiency, scalability and overall network reliability.
SGI recently reconfigured the TP9700 at NRL to utilize new native
InfiniBand host connectivity.
Frank Ding, engineering analysis & technical computing manager at Simpson Strong-Tie, discussed the advantages of utilizing the cloud for occasional scientific computing, identified the obstacles to doing so, and proposed workarounds to some of those obstacles.
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