Visit additional Tabor Communication Publications
July 15, 2011
The use of supercomputing to help maintain the US nuclear weapons arsenal is one of the more specialized applications of high performance computing. Simulating the behavior of these devices inside a computer has allowed the US to adhere to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), while maintaining some confidence that the country's nuclear deterrence capabilities remain intact. The responsibility to support our nuclear arsenal virtually has fallen on the NNSA's Stockpile Stewardship Program, under the Department of Energy.
But the ability of these supercomputing models to be able to replace actual nuclear testing is still somewhat controversial. A report by Chris Schneidmiller at Global Security Newswire weighs some of pros and cons of physical versus simulated nuclear testing and the ramifications of our CTBT obligations. In particular, Schneidmiller begins by pointing out that skeptics believe that "computer modeling cannot effectively replace actual testing in terms of ensuring the upkeep of today's stockpile, nor for preparing new nuclear weapons that might one day be necessary to safeguard the United States from future threats."
In addition new types of weapons might need to be developed to counter new types of threats. The Bush administration's proposal for the so-called "bunker busting" nuke is one such example. Having to develop an entirely new bomb without ever being able to detonate it is problematic at best.
The problem is that without some sort of physical testing, there is no assurance that the real-world behavior of the weapons is being reflected in computer model. As former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger pointed out, the confidence that the weapons will work is the whole basis of our nuclear deterrence strategy. And the only way to demonstrate that is to test the devices.
Of course, the whole idea behind the Stockpile Stewardship Program is to demonstrate that confidence without the testing. According to Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher, the directors of national labs maintain that the program has "provided a deeper understanding of our arsenal than they ever had when testing was commonplace."
A 2002 study from the National Academy of Sciences concluded that the US nuclear stockpile could indeed be maintained, given enough computing power and other technical resources. Particularly in the 1990s, whether supercomputers were capable of accurately simulating these weapon systems was an open question. Today, with petascale machines available, there is less concern about capability.
In March at the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference, CTBT opponent Senator Jon Kyl said that Stockpile Stewardship Program offered "both good news and bad news" regarding our nuclear arsenal, but expressed reservations that the program was the ultimate answer to maintaining our nuclear deterrence.
Full story at Global Security Newswire
The Xeon Phi coprocessor might be the new kid on the high performance block, but out of all first-rate kickers of the Intel tires, the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) got the first real jab with its new top ten Stampede system.We talk with the center's Karl Schultz about the challenges of programming for Phi--but more specifically, the optimization...
Although Horst Simon was named Deputy Director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, he maintains his strong ties to the scientific computing community as an editor of the TOP500 list and as an invited speaker at conferences.
Supercomputing veteran, Bo Ewald, has been neck-deep in bleeding edge system development since his twelve-year stint at Cray Research back in the mid-1980s, which was followed by his tenure at large organizations like SGI and startups, including Scale Eight Corporation and Linux Networx. He has put his weight behind quantum company....
05/10/2013 | Cleversafe, Cray, DDN, NetApp, & Panasas | From Wall Street to Hollywood, drug discovery to homeland security, companies and organizations of all sizes and stripes are coming face to face with the challenges – and opportunities – afforded by Big Data. Before anyone can utilize these extraordinary data repositories, however, they must first harness and manage their data stores, and do so utilizing technologies that underscore affordability, security, and scalability.
04/15/2013 | Bull | “50% of HPC users say their largest jobs scale to 120 cores or less.” How about yours? Are your codes ready to take advantage of today’s and tomorrow’s ultra-parallel HPC systems? Download this White Paper by Analysts Intersect360 Research to see what Bull and Intel’s Center for Excellence in Parallel Programming can do for your codes.
In this demonstration of SGI DMF ZeroWatt disk solution, Dr. Eng Lim Goh, SGI CTO, discusses a function of SGI DMF software to reduce costs and power consumption in an exascale (Big Data) storage datacenter.
The Cray CS300-AC cluster supercomputer offers energy efficient, air-cooled design based on modular, industry-standard platforms featuring the latest processor and network technologies and a wide range of datacenter cooling requirements.