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February 11, 2013
The Air Force's Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) wants to design a better class of mini-drones – micro air vehicles (MAVs) in military parlance – and they know just the scientist to help them do it.
Wu Feng, associate professor of computer science in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, was tapped by the Air Force to head up a large-scale, multi-disciplinary project aimed at reducing the time it takes to simulate the aerodynamics of these tiny aircrafts.
The Air Force is providing Feng and his team with $3.5 million in funding over three years with an option for a two-year extension and another $2.5 million.
Feng maintains they can "achieve substantial speed-up over current simulations and provide significantly better utilization of the underlying and co-designed hardware-software of a supercomputer."
Feng is no stranger to innovation. A foremost expert in energy-efficient supercomputing designs, he co-founded the Green500 list in 2007. In 2011, Feng developed and built HokieSpeed, an accelerator-based supercomputer and one of the most energy-efficient systems of its kind.
Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Feng spent seven years at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he designed and built the energy-sipping Green Destiny. This 2001-era supercomputer contained 240 nodes, occupied just five square feet of space, and consumed a mere 3.2 kilowatts of power – equivalent to the wattage consumed by two hair dryers.
The Air Force is looking to accelerator-based supercomputing in order to carry out computational fluid dynamics simulations in less time, but unlocking that ability will require cutting-edge software and hardware expertise. To address these multiple objectives, Feng has put together an impressive team of computer scientists, engineers and mathematicians from Virginia Tech and North Carolina State University.
Feng characterizes the project as necessitating advances in multi- and many-core parallel computing that will essentially "transform supercomputing."
As part of the official announcement, Feng acknowledges the limits of Moore's Law, but proposes that there is still "realizable performance [that] remains untapped." Accelerators will be essential to their strategy. Feng notes that "coupling hardware-software co-design with advances in algorithmic innovation offers the promise of multiplicative speed-ups."
Currently these miniature flying robots, a class of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are about five-inches across, but insect-sized drones are expected soon. In addition to their obvious military applications, the tiny air-bots will be useful in a variety of search and rescue operations.
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.