• Big Data
    Interagency Working Group
    (BD IWG)

    The Big Data Interagency Working Group (BD IWG) works to facilitate and further the goals of the White House Big Data R&D Initiative.

    BigData
  • Cyber Physical Systems Interagency Working Group (CPS IWG)

    The CPS IWG is to coordinate programs, budgets, and policy recommendations for Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) research and development (R&D).

    CPS
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    Cyber Security and Information Assurance (CSIA) Interagency Working Group coordinates the activities of the CSIA Program Component Area.

    CSIA
  • Health IT R&D
    Interagency Working Group

    The Health Information Technology Research and Development Interagency Working Group coordinates programs, budgets and policy recommendations for Health IT R&D.

    healthitrd
  • Human Computer Interaction & Information Management Interagency Working Group (HCI&IM IWG)

    HCI&IM focuses on information interaction, integration, and management research to develop and measure the performance of new technologies.

    hciim
  • High Confidence Software & Systems Interagency Working Group (HCSS IWG)

    HCSS R&D supports development of scientific foundations and enabling software and hardware technologies for the engineering, verification and validation, assurance, and certification of complex, networked, distributed computing systems and cyber-physical systems (CPS).

    hcss
  • High End Computing Interagency Working Group (HEC IWG)

    The HEC IWG coordinates the activities of the High End Computing (HEC) Infrastructure and Applications (I&A) and HEC Research and Development (R&D) Program Component Areas (PCAs).

    hec
  • Large Scale Networking Interagency Working Group
    (LSN IWG)

    LSN members coordinate Federal agency networking R&D in leading-edge networking technologies, services, and enhanced performance.

    lsn
  • Software Productivity, Sustainability, and Quality Interagency Working Group (SPSQ IWG)

    The purpose of the SPSQ IWG is to coordinate the R&D efforts across agencies that transform the frontiers of software science and engineering and to identify R&D areas in need of development that span the science and the technology of software creation and sustainment.

    sdp
  • Video and Image Analytics
    Interagency Working Group (VIA IWG)

    Formed to ensure and maximize successful coordination and collaboration across the Federal government in the important and growing area of video and image analytics

    VIA CG
  • Wireless Spectrum Research and Development Interagency Working Group (WSRD IWG)

    The Wireless Spectrum R&D (WSRD) Interagency Working Group (IWG) has been formed to coordinate spectrum-related research and development activities across the Federal government.

    WSRD

File:Survey and Analysis of the National Security High Performance Computing Architectural Requirements.pdf

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Survey and Analysis of the National Security High Performance Computing Architectural Requirements

4 June 2001

Richard Games, Ph.D.


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Are current high performance computers (HPCs) that use commodity microprocessors (“commodity HPCs”) adequate for national security applications? Or is there a critical need for traditional vector supercomputers? These were the overarching questions of a quick-reaction survey conducted by the author during the first two weeks of April 2001. The Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology commissioned the survey to help understand the national security issues associated with Cray Inc.’s request to the United States Department of Commerce to lift the import duty on Japanese vector supercomputers. This report contains the analysis of the survey results along with recommendations.

There are no simple answers to these two questions. At the minimum the answers depend on the specific application area. The author conducted face-to-face interviews with multiple users and software developers in 10 high performance computing application areas, including support to research and development, acquisition, and operations. Operational support ranged from “off-line” predictive analysis for planning purposes to “on-line” applications such as weather prediction, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Based on the interviews conducted, the overall assessment was that commodity HPCs are providing useful capability in all areas surveyed except for the cryptanalysis area. Over the last five years there has been a major investment made by the national security community to retool legacy vector-supercomputer software to run on commodity HPCs. As a result, these systems are in high demand by the national security community. Although commodity HPCs are producing useful results, in almost every case there were significant issues identified with their use. These issues included the negative impact that their difficult programming environments are having on researchers and system developers and the inefficiency in many cases of the actual processing due to a serious processor-memory communications bottleneck. The real value of this survey came from the insights gained from the discussions of the challenges that national security users and software developers face because of the current HPC technology base.

The bottom line for the national security community reduces to the interrelated issues of productivity and affordability. How productive are the researchers/developers that write the high performance software? How productive (efficient) are the HPCs that run the software? What does it cost? Included in the total cost are the facilities and the operational risks associated with the reliability of larger less-efficient installations. Perhaps the hardest cost to quantify is the “opportunity lost” when a domain researcher spends time on complicated computer programming rather than on creating new science. A number of recommendations are made to increase the flexibility and performance of future national security HPC options. These include assessing the impact of current stateof- the-art Japanese vector supercomputers, promulgating the software best practices identified during the survey, and initiating a pragmatic R&D program to improve the productivity of HPCs for national security applications.

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