In a ceremony on Tuesday, the Air Force Research Laboratory unveiled four new computing clusters, providing the capability for what it is calling the first-ever “Shared Above-Secret Department of Defense High Performance Computing Capability.” The largest of the four and the only one to operate outside the classified wall is “Mustang.” Built by HPE, Mustang will supply 4.87 peak petaflops in “support [of] unclassified operations and foundational work to be elevated to higher classification levels as efforts mature,” according to the AFRL.
Named in honor of the P-51 aircraft flown during World War II and emblazoned with eye-catching cabinet art, Mustang became operational in December 2018. The $15 million machine spans more than 1,100 HPE SGI 8600 servers encompassing 56,448 Xeon computing cores.
Mustang’s compute nodes comprise 2,352 Intel Platinum 8168 (Skylake) CPUs plus 24 Nvidia Tesla P100 GPUs, connected by Intel Omni-Path fabric. The system has 244 terabytes of memory and includes 9.1 petabytes of usable storage in two Lustre file systems.
Three other systems, also named after famous aircrafts — Shadow, Spectre and Voodoo — will form the DoD’s first ever shared, classified high-performance supercomputing center. The systems are housed in a new secure addition to the AFRL DoD Supercomputing Resource Center (DSRC) to facilitate the sharing of supercomputing capability across the DoD and other government agencies. Mustang operates in a separate unclassified wing of the AFRL DSRC, along with several other DSRC HPC systems.
The AFRL emphasized the necessity for secure, shared high-performance computing in meeting the nation’s defense needs.
“AFRL has been at the forefront of the effort to establish this capability for the DoD,” said Jeff Graham, AFRL DSRC director in a prepared statement. “It shows our commitment to advancing computational tools being used to support the warfighter. The ability to share supercomputers at higher classification levels will allow programs to get their supercomputing work done quickly while maintaining necessary security. Programs will not need to spend their budget and waste time constructing their own secure computer facilities, and buying and accrediting smaller computers for short-term work. This new capability will save billions for the DoD while providing additional access to state-of-the-art computing.”
The new systems appear to part of the DoD’s $57 million dollar supercomputing contract with HPE, announced last February.
The AFRL DoD Supercomputing Resource Center, at Wright-