Defence tenders for aerodynamic simulation supercomputer

The Australian Department of Defence's Defence Science and Technology Group has gone to tender for a high performance computer to support its aerodynamic simulation.

The Department of Defence's Defence Science and Technology Group (DST Group) is seeking a high performance supercomputer to support aerodynamic simulation.

The DST Group said it expects to purchase a high performance computer cluster, including a data storage solution, which will execute its Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations.

As part of the tender, the department has requested Linux-compatible software, and either 64-bit CentOS 6 or Redhat 6 operating systems; the compute nodes must be homogeneous and x86-64 processors must be used within each compute node. The tender added that the standard non-turbo frequency of every CPU will be 2.6 GHz or higher, and the memory must supply maximum memory bandwidth to the CPUs, including a memory capacity that will allocate a minimum of 3 GiB per core.

The system, which is to be installed in the DST Group datacentre, is required to be a CPU-only x86-64-based cluster that is "robust" enough that it does not require a power supply in the event of a power failure, the tender said.

The tender closes October 26, with the contract announcement currently scheduled for December 1.

In July, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) signed a AU$77 million supercomputer contract with American manufacturer Cray.

The new Cray XC-40 supercomputer is expected to be up and running at the BOM in mid-2016, replacing the ageing Sun Microsystems machine, which was commissioned in 2013.

The Cray XC-40 supercomputer runs on a Linux-based operating system, specifically designed to run large, complex applications and scale efficiently to more than 500,000 processor cores; and the specific model to be installed at the BOM will be comprised of 2,160 compute nodes, with 51,840 Intel Xeon cores, 276TB of RAM, and a usable storage of 4.3PB.

Earlier this month, the Department of Defence announced it will be splitting an investment of AU$14.2 million amongst seven organisations: Armor Composite Engineering, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Micro-X Ocius Technology, University of Canberra, the BOM, and Deakin University. The department said the funding aims to help with the development of new defence technology capabilities.

The seven organisations were selected out of a total of 96 proposals that were received by the federal government as part of funding round 19 of the Capability and Technology Demonstrator program, which was established in 1997 to encourage Australian research and development organisations to submit new technology concepts that could potentially be used to enhance Defence's capabilities.

Former-Minister for Defence Kevin Andrews had said at the time that since the program was established, Defence has invested AU$270 million in 118 projects, and, of these, 104 projects had successfully demonstrated the feasibility of their technologies.

Last month, the DST Group launched a study to explore virtual reality (VR) and its potential future application within the defence force. The department teamed up with California-based VR manufacturer Oculus to perform the study, which included up to 60 defence civilian and military personnel. The study was administered to improve training, education, and performance within the military environment.

"DST Group supports Defence in maintaining a technology watch," a spokesperson for the DST Group told ZDNet at the time. "This involves understanding and evaluating emerging technologies, such as low cost VR."