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!

Simulating Car Crashes with Supercomputers – and Lego

October 18, 2019

It’s an experiment many of us have carried out at home: crashing two Lego creations into each other, bricks flying everywhere. But for the researchers at the General German Automobile Club (ADAC) – which is comparabl Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

NASA Uses Deep Learning to Monitor Solar Weather

October 17, 2019

Solar flares may be best-known as sci-fi MacGuffins, but those flares – and other space weather – can have serious impacts on not only spacecraft and satellites, but also on Earth-based systems such as radio communic Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Federated Learning Applied to Cancer Research

October 17, 2019

The ability to share and analyze data while protecting patient privacy is giving medical researchers a new tool in their efforts to use what one vendor calls “federated learning” to train models based on diverse data Read more…

By George Leopold

Using AI to Solve One of the Most Prevailing Problems in CFD

October 17, 2019

How can artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) solve mesh generation, one of the most commonly referenced problems in computational engineering? A new study has set out to answer this question and create an industry-first AI-mesh application... Read more…

By James Sharpe

NSB 2020 S&E Indicators Dig into Workforce and Education

October 16, 2019

Every two years the National Science Board is required by Congress to issue a report on the state of science and engineering in the U.S. This year, in a departure from past practice, the NSB has divided the 2020 S&E Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Solution Channel

Making High Performance Computing Affordable and Accessible for Small and Medium Businesses with HPC on AWS

High performance computing (HPC) brings a powerful set of tools to a broad range of industries, helping to drive innovation and boost revenue in finance, genomics, oil and gas extraction, and other fields. Read more…

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Intel FPGAs: More Than Just an Accelerator Card

FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) acceleration cards are not new, as they’ve been commercially available since 1984. Typically, the emphasis around FPGAs has centered on the fact that they’re programmable accelerators, and that they can truly offer workload specific hardware acceleration solutions without requiring custom silicon. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

How Do We Power the New Industrial Revolution?

[Attend the IBM LSF, HPC & AI User Group Meeting at SC19 in Denver on November 19!]

Almost everyone is talking about artificial intelligence (AI). Read more…

What’s New in HPC Research: Rabies, Smog, Robots & More

October 14, 2019

In this bimonthly feature, HPCwire highlights newly published research in the high-performance computing community and related domains. From parallel programming to exascale to quantum computing, the details are here. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Using AI to Solve One of the Most Prevailing Problems in CFD

October 17, 2019

How can artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) solve mesh generation, one of the most commonly referenced problems in computational engineering? A new study has set out to answer this question and create an industry-first AI-mesh application... Read more…

By James Sharpe

NSB 2020 S&E Indicators Dig into Workforce and Education

October 16, 2019

Every two years the National Science Board is required by Congress to issue a report on the state of science and engineering in the U.S. This year, in a departu Read more…

By John Russell

Crystal Ball Gazing: IBM’s Vision for the Future of Computing

October 14, 2019

Dario Gil, IBM’s relatively new director of research, painted a intriguing portrait of the future of computing along with a rough idea of how IBM thinks we’ Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Simulates Braking – on Mars

October 14, 2019

NASA is planning to send humans to Mars by the 2030s – and landing on the surface will be considerably trickier than landing a rover like Curiosity. To solve Read more…

By Staff report

Trovares Drives Memory-Driven, Property Graph Analytics Strategy with HPE

October 10, 2019

Trovares, a high performance property graph analytics company, has partnered with HPE and its Superdome Flex memory-driven servers on a cybersecurity capability the companies say “routinely” runs near-time workloads on 24TB-capacity systems... Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel, Lenovo Join Forces on HPC Cluster for Flatiron

October 9, 2019

An HPC cluster with deep learning techniques will be used to process petabytes of scientific data as part of workload-intensive projects spanning astrophysics to genomics. AI partners Intel and Lenovo said they are providing... Read more…

By George Leopold

Optimizing Offshore Wind Farms with Supercomputer Simulations

October 9, 2019

Offshore wind farms offer a number of benefits; many of the areas with the strongest winds are located offshore, and siting wind farms offshore ameliorates many of the land use concerns associated with onshore wind farms. Some estimates say that, if leveraged, offshore wind power... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Harvard Deploys Cannon, New Lenovo Water-Cooled HPC Cluster

October 9, 2019

Harvard's Faculty of Arts & Sciences Research Computing (FASRC) center announced a refresh of their primary HPC resource. The new cluster, called Cannon after the pioneering American astronomer Annie Jump Cannon, is supplied by Lenovo... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Supercomputer-Powered AI Tackles a Key Fusion Energy Challenge

August 7, 2019

Fusion energy is the Holy Grail of the energy world: low-radioactivity, low-waste, zero-carbon, high-output nuclear power that can run on hydrogen or lithium. T Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DARPA Looks to Propel Parallelism

September 4, 2019

As Moore’s law runs out of steam, new programming approaches are being pursued with the goal of greater hardware performance with less coding. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency is launching a new programming effort aimed at leveraging the benefits of massive distributed parallelism with less sweat. Read more…

By George Leopold

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Launches Epyc Rome, First 7nm CPU

August 8, 2019

From a gala event at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco yesterday (Aug. 7), AMD launched its second-generation Epyc Rome x86 chips, based on its 7nm proce Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Ayar Labs to Demo Photonics Chiplet in FPGA Package at Hot Chips

August 19, 2019

Silicon startup Ayar Labs continues to gain momentum with its DARPA-backed optical chiplet technology that puts advanced electronics and optics on the same chip Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Using AI to Solve One of the Most Prevailing Problems in CFD

October 17, 2019

How can artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) solve mesh generation, one of the most commonly referenced problems in computational engineering? A new study has set out to answer this question and create an industry-first AI-mesh application... Read more…

By James Sharpe

D-Wave’s Path to 5000 Qubits; Google’s Quantum Supremacy Claim

September 24, 2019

On the heels of IBM’s quantum news last week come two more quantum items. D-Wave Systems today announced the name of its forthcoming 5000-qubit system, Advantage (yes the name choice isn’t serendipity), at its user conference being held this week in Newport, RI. Read more…

By John Russell

Chinese Company Sugon Placed on US ‘Entity List’ After Strong Showing at International Supercomputing Conference

June 26, 2019

After more than a decade of advancing its supercomputing prowess, operating the world’s most powerful supercomputer from June 2013 to June 2018, China is keep Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

ISC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
GOOGLE
GOOGLE
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Hardware That Powered the Black Hole Image

June 24, 2019

Two months ago, the first-ever image of a black hole took the internet by storm. A team of scientists took years to produce and verify the striking image – an Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Intel Confirms Retreat on Omni-Path

August 1, 2019

Intel Corp.’s plans to make a big splash in the network fabric market for linking HPC and other workloads has apparently belly-flopped. The chipmaker confirmed to us the outlines of an earlier report by the website CRN that it has jettisoned plans for a second-generation version of its Omni-Path interconnect... Read more…

By Staff report

Crystal Ball Gazing: IBM’s Vision for the Future of Computing

October 14, 2019

Dario Gil, IBM’s relatively new director of research, painted a intriguing portrait of the future of computing along with a rough idea of how IBM thinks we’ Read more…

By John Russell

Kubernetes, Containers and HPC

September 19, 2019

Software containers and Kubernetes are important tools for building, deploying, running and managing modern enterprise applications at scale and delivering enterprise software faster and more reliably to the end user — while using resources more efficiently and reducing costs. Read more…

By Daniel Gruber, Burak Yenier and Wolfgang Gentzsch, UberCloud

Intel Debuts Pohoiki Beach, Its 8M Neuron Neuromorphic Development System

July 17, 2019

Neuromorphic computing has received less fanfare of late than quantum computing whose mystery has captured public attention and which seems to have generated mo Read more…

By John Russell

Rise of NIH’s Biowulf Mirrors the Rise of Computational Biology

July 29, 2019

The story of NIH’s supercomputer Biowulf is fascinating, important, and in many ways representative of the transformation of life sciences and biomedical res Read more…

By John Russell

Quantum Bits: Neven’s Law (Who Asked for That), D-Wave’s Steady Push, IBM’s Li-O2- Simulation

July 3, 2019

Quantum computing’s (QC) many-faceted R&D train keeps slogging ahead and recently Japan is taking a leading role. Yesterday D-Wave Systems announced it ha Read more…

By John Russell

With the Help of HPC, Astronomers Prepare to Deflect a Real Asteroid

September 26, 2019

For years, NASA has been running simulations of asteroid impacts to understand the risks (and likelihoods) of asteroids colliding with Earth. Now, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are preparing for the next, crucial step in planetary defense against asteroid impacts: physically deflecting a real asteroid. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This