NCS Members Experimenting with IBM-Designed Supercomputer

On the eve of an upgrade expected to more than triple its capability, the IBM high performance computing cluster housed at the Institute for Simulation and Training (IST) is operating around the clock at close to 100 percent capacity.

The University of Central Florida installed the system through two Army grants totaling $2.6 million. The “Stokes HPC,” named in honor of Cambridge mathematician and physicist Sir George Gabriel Stokes (1819-1903), began operation in May. Users from UCF physics, math, computer science and nanoscience immediately saw results from the cluster’s 28-node, 224 processing core hardware, designed to enhance problem solving for both academic and industrial research.

With the new components in place, researchers anticipate development of many more new applications, including support for realistic training scenarios with thousands of people training in the same virtual world and cutting-edge research in the physical and biological sciences.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson helped UCF secure the first $1 million of the grant, applied toward initial hardware, software and research costs; U.S. Rep. Corinne Brown joined Nelson to help secure the remaining $1.6 million.

UCF chose IBM to design the system and train researchers to use it. The initial installation features a 192-processor IBM System Cluster 1350 with 20 terabytes (20,000 billion bytes) of storage. The system delivers nearly two TeraFLOPS (2,000 billion floating point operations per second) of processing performance.

A founding member of NCS, IST is working with NCS member company Forterra Systems Inc., a virtual world developer, to study hosting simulation applications on this type of computer for governmental and commercial purposes. According to Forterra’s Federal Systems division general manager Mike Macedonia, studies conducted through the grants will help Forterra learn how its realistic OLIVE™ (On-Line Interactive Virtual Environment) 3D Internet platform can take advantage of a high-performance computing system’s processing power. IST has also worked with NCS member company SAIC to experiment with hosting the OneSAF Computer Generated Forces simulation system on the new computer.

IST is looking for other opportunities to partner with government and industry organizations to perform research using the new system. For information on partnering with IST on related research, contact Dr. Brian Goldiez.