AEDC's new high performance computer is online
By Philip Lorenz III
/ Published May 07, 2007
ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, TENN --
Arnold Engineering Development Center's (AEDC) most recent addition to their high performance computer (HPC) center, two 80 processor Hewlett-Packard XC cluster systems, are now online and have already been put to preliminary use by test customers. The new system was first brought online in January for shakedown trials to ultimately provide AEDC computational resources to support customers with time critical mission support via rapid data analysis and the capability to computationally test high fidelity engineering physics models in a shorter time, saving a considerable amount of money, time and material resources.
The new HPC system also provides users with a powerful tool to rapidly analyze computational fluid dynamic (CFD) modeling and pressure sensitive paint data in near real-time in support of a spectrum of programs, from the space shuttle to the Joint Strike Fighter.
During a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the official debut of the new computer system, Dr. Ed Kraft, an AEDC Fellow and the technical advisor to the center commander, described the successful installation and activation of the new system, both hardware and software, as a significant chapter in what has been "an epitome of collaboration" between a number of organizations, including the Air Force SEEK EAGLE office (AFSEO) with the 46th Test Wing at Eglin AFB, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Army, and academia, most notably the Air Force Academy.
"The installation of this new system puts AEDC way out in front as far as our Integrated Testing and Evaluation (IT&E) capabilities are concerned," said 2nd Lt. Ricky Dickens, project manager for the high performance computing maintenance project at AEDC. "Our new system is twice as fast as our old one, and some software runs up to four times faster."
The center's initial high performance computing (HPC) system, funded by the Department of Defense's High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP), was installed in 1995. AEDC was designated as a High Performance Computing Distributed Center that same year.
In April 2004, AEDC and the AFSEO joined forces to submit a request to the HPCMP for Distributed Center funding, which first brought a high performance computer system upgrade to AFSEO and provided funding for AEDC's new system.
Tom Brown, AEDC chief of the communications, and information management division, said, "Yes, the technology is impressive, but it is the ability of our people to sustain AEDC's preeminence in high performance computing and partnership with the DoD HPCMO for over a decade that I'm most proud of.
"We have maintained a degree of recognition from our peers throughout the DoD that few computer centers can claim. I am not just referring to our peers in the test community, but to those who are leading the high performance computing programs in the Army, Navy and Air Force. They recognize the value of the work done at AEDC and our ability to make effective investments of the DoD's HPCMP dollars."
Bonnie Heikkinen, technology and analysis branch project manager for modeling, simulation and analysis program at AEDC, said, "Our high performance computer system is used to perform computational simulation of either a predictive test matrix for the flight system or computational simulation for post analysis for something that may have happened during a test. We can use it do store separation analysis off of an aircraft. In facilities like PWT we conduct testing on sub-scale models, but we can simulate, computationally, the full-scale aircraft or a flight system with this HPC asset."