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US DoD continues to use Altair for HPC modernisation

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Altair Engineering has announced that the US Department of Defense has exercised its option to continue using Altair's PBS Professional software as the standard workload management solution for its high-performance computing modernisation program (HPCMP).

The Altair software currently schedules runs on the department's centres for scientific research and development and for testing and evaluation. These high-performance computing centres include facilities at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, and the Navy DoD Supercomputing Resource Centre on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, as well as sites in Vicksburg, Fairbanks, and Alaska. In all, the systems at these facilities furnish a total 1.3 petaflops of computational power.

In 2006, Altair earned a two-year contract to provide PBS Professional for these centers, with a series of eight one-year renewal options. The HPCMP now has exercised the Year Three option, based on the performance of the software and the flexibility of Altair Engineering in adapting to the needs of the organisation’s constantly changing environment.

Initiated in 1992, the HPCMP's mission is to deliver world-class commercial, high-end, high-performance computational capability to the Defense Department's 4,000+ person science, technology, testing and evaluation communities. 'The foundation of our contract with Altair was the desire to have a single job-management system for our entire user community,' said DoD HPCMP centers manager Brad Comes. 'Our community uses about 20 different HPC systems. Some users employ eight systems and others just two or three. We wanted to have a common management system independent of the system they ran on, so our contract required software to run on all our systems as they scale, mature and change technologically.'

The military's research and development scientists use high-performance computing, supported by PBS Professional, for a variety of advanced projects, such as developing materials for the next generation of aircraft, designing propulsion systems, developing more effective nozzles for diesel fuel-injection engines, and producing armour for vehicles in the field. They also take on projects with a very large scope, such as creating next-generation capabilities for predicting climate, weather and ocean patterns. Testing and evaluation experts use the HPC systems to run virtual tests before conducting actual testing of missiles and aircraft.