FEATURES & COMMENTARY
Upper Marlboro, MD. — Raytheon Company has been awarded a $34 million contract to upgrade the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) supercomputer laboratory in Princeton, N.J. The upgrade is expected to improve the nation’s climate prediction and weather forecasting capabilities.
GFDL is a federal research laboratory in the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The laboratory performs comprehensive, long lead-time research that is fundamental to the mission of NOAA.
One of the goals of this research is to expand the scientific understanding of the physical processes governing the behavior of the atmosphere and the oceans as complex fluid systems. These systems can be modeled mathematically and their phenomenology can be studied by complex computer simulations. Using this information can improve climate prediction and weather forecasting. GFDL is one of the nation’s foremost computer laboratories concentrating primarily on the modeling of hurricanes and other large-scale weather phenomena.
“The opportunity to be part of this GFDL team capitalizes on Raytheon’s capabilities in high performance computing and earth sciences,” said Ellis Bailey, Raytheon’s GFDL program manager. “The SGI Origin 3000 series technology delivered will greatly improve GFDL’s ability to meet the demands of its scientific research.”
Initial delivery consists of nine SGI Origin 3800 supercomputers each with 128 processors. The new computers will have the ability to perform more than 900 billion floating point arithmetic operations per second (900 Gigaflops) and will have more than four times the performance of the three Cray Research computers that they replace.
SGI, a key subcontractor on the GFDL team, recently launched its new Origin 3000 series servers. Available immediately, the systems are based on the breakthrough SGI NUMAflex modular technology, and offer flexibility, resiliency, overall investment protection and superior performance, according to Jan Silverman, vice president, SGI Advanced Systems Marketing. The SGI NUMAflex modular technology is a “brick”-style system for constructing small-to-very large computer systems from a common set of building blocks. Financing for the project is being provided by SGI Solutions Finance.
“We are excited about our participation in this project and look forward to many more opportunities to partner with Raytheon and its customers,” said Lisa Paquette-Nelson, Americas manager for SGI Solutions Finance.
The system also includes more than 20 terabytes of high-speed disk storage that can transfer data in or out of the system at more than 10 gigabytes per second. Raytheon will also, as part of the contract, upgrade an existing automated tape archive storage system. Initial capacity of the tape archive will be approximately 500 terabytes.
“This system addresses GFDL’s need for high performance computing and its need for high reliability,” said James Ballew, Raytheon’s chief architect for the system.
SGI provides a broad range of high-performance computing and advanced graphics solutions that enable customers to understand and conquer their toughest computing problems. Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., with offices worldwide, the company is located on the Internet at http://www.sgi.com .
Raytheon Company, based in Lexington, Mass., is a global technology leader that provides products and services in the areas of commercial and defense electronics and business and special mission aircraft. It has operations throughout the United States and serves customers in more than 70 countries.