Cray Lands $26M Supercomputer Deal with DoD

Cray lands $26M contract to update the U.S. Army’s supercomputing infrastructure.

Supercomputer manufacturer Cray has been awarded a $26M contract to supply the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) with a Cray XC40 supercomputer. The investment in this new supercomputing system is aimed at satisfying the goals of improving the militaries computer through its High Performance Computing Modernization Program.

Along with its Xeon Phi processor-based supercomputer, the DoD will also be receiving three Cray Sonexion storage systems to manage the massive arrays of data that the system will be tasked with processing.

According to Cray, the new system will be stationed at the U.S. Army’s Engineer Research and Development Center DoD Supercomputing Resource Center (ERDC DSRC) in Vicksburg, Miss.

While most people think of supercomputers as machines that churn through data at government labs and large corporations, the military is also a player in the supercomputing game, leveraging massive computing power to solve difficult engineering problems.

In fact, the ERDC DSRC touts that one of the major engineering featsits been able to accomplish, thanks to supercomputing, is the development of a 1 million psi, carbon nanotube–based fiber.

Using supercomputers, researchers at ERDC DSRC have discovered, designed and tested a laboratory sample of a lightweight, high-strength carbon nanotube material that could be used in wide variety of applications, including infrastructure projects.

But beyond developing breakthrough technologies, the use of supercomputers in engineering also speeds up research and makes it more cost effective.

“Atomistic modeling and molecular design allows researchers to discover, design and test advanced materials before they are produced.” Reads the ERDC DSRC’s website. “This saves considerable amounts of time and resources over the traditional build-test, rebuild-retest cyclic method of material development.”

Although the Cray system is already on order, the ERDC DSRC will have to wait until mid-2017 for the system to be installed. Until then, the ERDC DSRC will continue to process the military’s engineering problems through its three supercomputers, which include two Cray XE6s and an SGI Altix ICE 8200.