Brookhaven Ramps Up Computing for National Security Effort

By John Russell

February 14, 2018

Last week, Dan Coats, the director of Director of National Intelligence for the U.S., warned the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia was likely to meddle in the 2018 mid-term U.S. elections, much as it stands accused of doing in the 2016 Presidential election. A week earlier, a report surfaced in a Russian media outlet that a group of Russian nuclear scientists had been arrested for using a government supercomputer to mine crypto-currency.

These very public episodes of computer misdeeds are a small portion of a growing and largely hidden iceberg of computer-related dangers with the potential to harm society. There are, of course, many active efforts to mitigate the ‘hacker’ onslaught as well as to use computational capabilities for U.S. national security purposes. Now, a formal effort is ramping up at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL).

Last fall, Adolfy Hoisie then at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory was tapped to join Brookhaven’s expanding computing research and to become chair of the new Computing for National Security (CSN) Department. Since then Hoisie has been quickly drawing up the roadmap for the new effort – it’s charged with researching and developing novel technologies and applications for use in solving computing challenges in the national security arena.

The new CNS department is a recent addition to Brookhaven’s roughly three-year old Computational Science Initiative (CSI) which is intended to further computational capability and research at Brookhaven with a distinct emphasis on data science. Brookhaven is probably best known for its high-energy physics research. Most recently its National Synchrotron Light Source II is grabbing attention – it will be the brightest in the world when completed and accommodate 60 to 70 beamlines. Brookhaven also houses RHIC (Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider), which among other things is currently looking for the missing spin of the proton.

Adolfy Hoisie, Chair, Computing for National Security (CSN) Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory

Not surprisingly, the synchrotron, RHIC, and a variety of other experimental instruments at Brookhaven produce a lot of data. “We have the second largest scientific data archive in the U.S. and the fourth largest in the world,” said Hoisie, founding chairman of the CSN department. “On an annual basis, data to the tune of 35 petabytes are being ingested, 37 petabytes are being exported, and 400 petabytes of data analyzed. [What’s more] given the scientific community nature of this work, a lot of this data needs to be accessed at high bandwidth in and out of the experimental facilities and the Lab’s storage systems.”

Dealing with that mountain of experimental data is the main computational challenge at Brookhaven and Hoisie noted the CNS mission is ‘highly synergistic’ with those efforts.

“A large spectrum, if not a preponderance of applications, inspired by national security challenges, are in actual fact data sciences problems. It is speed of collection from various sources, whether the volume or velocity of data, the quality of data, analysis of data, which sets performance bounds for [security-related] applications. Just like data being streamed from a detector on an x-ray beam, data that is being streamed from a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) also has the challenges of too much data being generated and not enough bandwidth-to-the-ground in order for it to become actionable information and then make it back to the flying vehicle,” he said.

“The methodologies for data analysis, including machine learning and deep learning, required for national security concerns are very much synergistic with the challenges in data sciences. The spectrum of applications of interest to my department includes intelligence apps, cybersecurity, non-proliferation activities including international aspects of that, supply chain security, and a number of computational aspects of security of the computing infrastructure.”

Hoisie is no stranger to HPC or to building focused HPC research organizations. He joined Brookhaven from PNNL where he was the Director of the Advanced Computing, Mathematics, and Data Division, and the founding director of the Center for Advanced Technology Evaluation (CENATE). He plans to significantly expand the breadth, depth, and reach of the technologies and applications considered, with a focus on the full technology pipeline (basic research through devices, board, systems, to algorithms and applications).

Brookhaven, of course, already has substantial computational resources, a big chunk of which are co-located with the new synchrotron and dedicated to it. Predictably, I/O and storage is a particularly thorny issue and Hoisie noted Brookhaven has a large assortment of storage solutions and devices “from novel solutions all the way to discs and tapes of many generations that require computational resources in order to operate and do the data management.”

Brookhaven Light Source II

Currently, there is a second effort to centralize and expand the remaining computational infrastructure. The new CSN, along with much of the CSI, will be located in the new center.

“The first floor of the old synchrotron (National Synchrotron Light Source I) is being refurbished to a modern machine room through a DOE sponsored project. The approximate size of the area is 50,000 square feet. Significant power will be added to house the existing large scale computing and storage systems, and provide for the ability to grow in the future commensurate with the computing aspirations of Brookhaven. The new facility will also include computing Lab space for high accuracy and resolution measurement of computing technologies from device to systems, and to house computing systems “beyond Moore’s law” that will likely require special operating conditions,” said Hoisie.

Brookhaven has a diverse portfolio of ongoing research some of which will be tapped by CNS. “For example, there’s a significant scientific emphasis in materials design. That includes a center for nano materials, developing methodologies for material design and actual development of materials. We are trying to enmesh this expertise in materials with that in computing to tackle the challenges of computing at the device level,” Hoise said.

Hoisie’s group will also look at emerging technologies such as quantum computing. “That’s an area of major interest. We are looking at not only creating the appropriate facilities for siting quantum computing, such as the infrastructure for deep cooling and whatnot, but also looking at very significantly expanding the range of applications that are suitable for quantum computing. On that we have active discussions with IBM and others. You know, quantum computing is a little bit of a work in progress. I know I am stating the obvious but a lot depends on expanding significantly the range of applications to which quantum computing is applicable. We too often say, yes, quantum computing is very good for quantum chemistry or studying quantum effects in all kinds of processes, and cryptography, but there are many other areas we are trying to explore.”

Industry collaboration is an important part of the plan. In fact, noted Hoisie, “CSI, for example, is partly endowed by a New York State grant and part of the rules of engagement related to the grant and the management structure of Brookhaven [requires] development of a bona fide, high quality, high bandwidth interaction with regional powerhouses in computing including IBM. So we have quite a few ongoing in-depth discussions with potential partners that we hope soon to materialize to tackle together specific technologies.”

Throughout his computing career, Hoisie developed fruitful collaborations with technology providers with many collaborators such as IBM, AMD, Nvidia, and Data Vortex, just to name a few. He expects to do the same now.

Also, the modeling and simulation (ModSim) workshop series he helped organize and run will also continue including through his leadership of it and the participation of his new group. “The series of ModSim meetings will continue. Although I am not on the West Coast now we decided to organize them for continuity in Seattle at the University of Washington. These are events in which we are going to showcase technologies and applications including those national security interests and how ModSim is going to help. We’ve refreshed the committee to expand its base. That will continue as an interagency-funded operation that involves DOE, NSF, and a number of sectors from DoD,” Hoisie said.

Obviously these are still early days for the Computing for National Security initiative. A limited number of projects are still taking shape and there are few details available. That said Hoisie has high expectations:

“We have very significant plans to grow this department. The goal is to bring this Computing for National Security department, which is small at the moment, to the level of a high quality, and the emphasis is on the highest possible quality, of a top-notch national laboratory division level effort.

“This is the way in which we conducted HPC research for decades in my groups. There is the highest quality staff that we hire. There is active integration across the spectrum from technology and systems to the system software to applications and algorithms. And there is a healthy mixture of applied mathematics and computer science and domain sciences that are all contributing to the team effort. And there is a pipeline that we are interested in at all stages: as the technology matures you get more and more into areas that are related to computer science and mathematics and algorithm development and end up in tech development arena. These technologies materialize into boards, devices, systems and then into very large scale supercomputers that offer efficient solutions for solving science or national security problems. We absolutely plan to follow this way.”

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Fluid HPC: How Extreme-Scale Computing Should Respond to Meltdown and Spectre

February 15, 2018

The Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities are proving difficult to fix, and initial experiments suggest security patches will cause significant performance penalties to HPC applications. Even as these patches are rolled o Read more…

By Pete Beckman

Intel Touts Silicon Spin Qubits for Quantum Computing

February 14, 2018

Debate around what makes a good qubit and how best to manufacture them is a sprawling topic. There are many insistent voices favoring one or another approach. Referencing a paper published today in Nature, Intel has offe Read more…

By John Russell

Brookhaven Ramps Up Computing for National Security Effort

February 14, 2018

Last week, Dan Coats, the director of Director of National Intelligence for the U.S., warned the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia was likely to meddle in the 2018 mid-term U.S. elections, much as it stands accused of doing in the 2016 Presidential election. Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Safeguard Your HPC Environment with the World’s Most Secure Industry Standard Servers

Today’s organizations operate in an environment with ever-evolving threats, and in order to protect themselves they must continuously bolster their security strategy. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Intel® are addressing modern security challenges with the world’s most secure industry standard servers powered by the latest generation of Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors. Read more…

AI Cloud Competition Heats Up: Google’s TPUs, Amazon Building AI Chip

February 12, 2018

Competition in the white hot AI (and public cloud) market pits Google against Amazon this week, with Google offering AI hardware on its cloud platform intended to make it easier, faster and cheaper to train and run machi Read more…

By Doug Black

Fluid HPC: How Extreme-Scale Computing Should Respond to Meltdown and Spectre

February 15, 2018

The Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities are proving difficult to fix, and initial experiments suggest security patches will cause significant performance penal Read more…

By Pete Beckman

Brookhaven Ramps Up Computing for National Security Effort

February 14, 2018

Last week, Dan Coats, the director of Director of National Intelligence for the U.S., warned the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia was likely to meddle in the 2018 mid-term U.S. elections, much as it stands accused of doing in the 2016 Presidential election. Read more…

By John Russell

AI Cloud Competition Heats Up: Google’s TPUs, Amazon Building AI Chip

February 12, 2018

Competition in the white hot AI (and public cloud) market pits Google against Amazon this week, with Google offering AI hardware on its cloud platform intended Read more…

By Doug Black

Russian Nuclear Engineers Caught Cryptomining on Lab Supercomputer

February 12, 2018

Nuclear scientists working at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) have been arrested for using lab supercomputing resources to mine crypto-currency, according to a report in Russia’s Interfax News Agency. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Food Industry’s Next Journey — from Mars to Exascale

February 12, 2018

Global food producer and one of the world's leading chocolate companies Mars Inc. has a unique perspective on the impact that exascale computing will have on the food industry. Read more…

By Scott Gibson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Singularity HPC Container Start-Up – Sylabs – Emerges from Stealth

February 8, 2018

The driving force behind Singularity, the popular HPC container technology, is bringing the open source platform to the enterprise with the launch of a new vent Read more…

By George Leopold

Dell EMC Debuts PowerEdge Servers with AMD EPYC Chips

February 6, 2018

AMD notched another EPYC processor win today with Dell EMC’s introduction of three PowerEdge servers (R6415, R7415, and R7425) based on the EPYC 7000-series p Read more…

By John Russell

‘Next Generation’ Universe Simulation Is Most Advanced Yet

February 5, 2018

The research group that gave us the most detailed time-lapse simulation of the universe’s evolution in 2014, spanning 13.8 billion years of cosmic evolution, is back in the spotlight with an even more advanced cosmological model that is providing new insights into how black holes influence the distribution of dark matter, how heavy elements are produced and distributed, and where magnetic fields originate. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Inventor Claims to Have Solved Floating Point Error Problem

January 17, 2018

"The decades-old floating point error problem has been solved," proclaims a press release from inventor Alan Jorgensen. The computer scientist has filed for and Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Japan Unveils Quantum Neural Network

November 22, 2017

The U.S. and China are leading the race toward productive quantum computing, but it's early enough that ultimate leadership is still something of an open questi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Showcases Growing Portfolio of EPYC and Radeon-based Systems at SC17

November 13, 2017

AMD’s charge back into HPC and the datacenter is on full display at SC17. Having launched the EPYC processor line in June along with its MI25 GPU the focus he Read more…

By John Russell

Researchers Measure Impact of ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Patches on HPC Workloads

January 17, 2018

Computer scientists from the Center for Computational Research, State University of New York (SUNY), University at Buffalo have examined the effect of Meltdown Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fast Forward: Five HPC Predictions for 2018

December 21, 2017

What’s on your list of high (and low) lights for 2017? Volta 100’s arrival on the heels of the P100? Appearance, albeit late in the year, of IBM’s Power9? Read more…

By John Russell

Russian Nuclear Engineers Caught Cryptomining on Lab Supercomputer

February 12, 2018

Nuclear scientists working at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) have been arrested for using lab supercomputing resources to mine crypto-currency, according to a report in Russia’s Interfax News Agency. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Chip Flaws ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Loom Large

January 4, 2018

The HPC and wider tech community have been abuzz this week over the discovery of critical design flaws that impact virtually all contemporary microprocessors. T Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Perspective: What Really Happened at SC17?

November 22, 2017

SC is over. Now comes the myriad of follow-ups. Inboxes are filled with templated emails from vendors and other exhibitors hoping to win a place in the post-SC thinking of booth visitors. Attendees of tutorials, workshops and other technical sessions will be inundated with requests for feedback. Read more…

By Andrew Jones

How Meltdown and Spectre Patches Will Affect HPC Workloads

January 10, 2018

There have been claims that the fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, named the KPTI (aka KAISER) patches, are going to affect applicatio Read more…

By Rosemary Francis

GlobalFoundries, Ayar Labs Team Up to Commercialize Optical I/O

December 4, 2017

GlobalFoundries (GF) and Ayar Labs, a startup focused on using light, instead of electricity, to transfer data between chips, today announced they've entered in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tensors Come of Age: Why the AI Revolution Will Help HPC

November 13, 2017

Thirty years ago, parallel computing was coming of age. A bitter battle began between stalwart vector computing supporters and advocates of various approaches to parallel computing. IBM skeptic Alan Karp, reacting to announcements of nCUBE’s 1024-microprocessor system and Thinking Machines’ 65,536-element array, made a public $100 wager that no one could get a parallel speedup of over 200 on real HPC workloads. Read more…

By John Gustafson & Lenore Mullin

Flipping the Flops and Reading the Top500 Tea Leaves

November 13, 2017

The 50th edition of the Top500 list, the biannual publication of the world’s fastest supercomputers based on public Linpack benchmarking results, was released Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

V100 Good but not Great on Select Deep Learning Aps, Says Xcelerit

November 27, 2017

Wringing optimum performance from hardware to accelerate deep learning applications is a challenge that often depends on the specific application in use. A benc Read more…

By John Russell

2017 Gordon Bell Prize Finalists Named

October 23, 2017

The three finalists for this year’s Gordon Bell Prize in High Performance Computing have been announced. They include two papers on projects run on China’s Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This