Naval Oceanographic Office to Get Major Supercomputer

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVO) Major Shared Resource Center (MSRC) will house a powerful new IBM supercomputer that will substantially increase its computational capacity.

"This new IBM system represents a tremendous increase in the center's computational capacity," said Tom Dunn, director of the computer center. "Many DoD scientists and researchers are looking forward to having this system available to support their computational needs."

The Navy uses the supercomputer center both for operations and for research projects. Navy oceanographers run and analyze ocean models for a variety of Navy operations. Researchers use the supercomputer center for DoD-approved research projects.

The new supercomputer, a Power 575 Hydro-Cluster, has a peak speed of 90 teraflops (90 trillion floating-point operations per second), which is about four times the computational capability of the largest supercomputer currently in use at the NAVO MSRC. The new IBM system will have more than 4,700 processors, each capable of performing roughly 19 billion calculations per second -- more than twice as fast as processors in the existing systems. The addition will have a cost of $12,650,000.

The new IBM will replace some aging units when it is added to the center. It is scheduled to be in production by the end of October.

"The Power 575 supercomputer is specifically designed for the type of computationally intensive work undertaken by NAVO," said Dave Turek, vice president of deep computing for IBM. "This system will enhance DoD research efforts and significantly enhance the ability to perform detailed oceanographic modeling and weather forecasting that will help keep the naval fleet and commercial shippers out of harm's way."

The Power 575 Hydro-Cluster is powered by one of the world's fastest microprocessors, POWER6, and is cooled by an innovative water system that makes it highly energy-efficient. The Power 575 is designed to help users tackle some of the world's most challenging problems in fields such as energy, aerospace and weather modeling.

Although housed at the NAVO MSRC and operated by the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, the supercomputer center is an asset of the U.S. Department of Defense. The NAVO MSRC serves more than 1,000 scientists and engineers throughout the nation engaged in research and development, and test and evaluation activities for the DoD. Operationally, it provides, on a daily basis, global, regional, and very high-resolution coastal ocean circulation and wave model oceanography products supporting worldwide Navy and DoD operations.

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