Army supercomputing program shows off its work

Army supercomputing program shows off its work

High-end computing research is more than an academic application of technology, Defense Department and intelligence officials said yesterday'it's an important element of domestic defense.

U.S. leadership in supercomputing is crucial to national security, said George R. Cotter, director of the National Security Agency's Office of Corporate Assessments. He spoke at a luncheon hosted by the Army High-Performance Computing Research Center and Cray Inc. of Seattle.

'Modeling and simulation should be a part of every major weapons system program" in DOD today, Cotter said. Even the fastest high-performance computers, which can perform several trillion floating-point operations per second, still don't have enough power to model detailed interactions of planes and ships with the turbulent flow of air and water around them.

In signals intelligence and code analysis, 'man has not conceived of a computer too powerful for our needs,' Cotter said.

Consumer rather than research needs drive the U.S. high-end computing industry, which still has not developed a successor to silicon-based processors, Cotter said.

Claude M. Bolton Jr., assistant Army secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology, showed results from a simulation of tungsten projectiles hitting body-armor plates. The projectile penetrated more deeply into a simulated steel plate than into a plate made of ceramic and aluminum layers.

Changes in demographic trends, combined with the impending retirement of many scientists and engineers in the baby-boomer generation, mean that fewer young researchers are in the academic pipeline, said Kofi B. Bota, director of Clark Atlantic University's Research Center for Science and Technology.

Bota, who serves on the policy board of the Army supercomputing center, described several internship programs at Army research centers and challenged other federal agencies to expand their graduate fellowship offerings.

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