Core Activities Partnerships

Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC) High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP)

Wright Technology Network (WTN) supports the HPCMP at Wright Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) as a subcontractor to the prime contractor and systems integrator, the Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). Functionally, WTN works closely with another subcontractor, the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) in Columbus, Ohio. OSC is the lead academic institution.

BACKGROUND AND GOALS

On May 1, 1996 the Director of Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E) awarded the HPCMP contract to ASC at WPAFB. ASC provides program management through its Major Shared Resource Center (MSRC), also known as the High Performance Computing (HPC) Center. The MSRC is the focus of the HPCMP technical effort where WTN provides daily program support. The government team includes the Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC), Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT).

ASC GOALS FOR THE HPC PROGRAM AT WPAFB

  • Modernize Department of Defense (DoD) HPC Capabilities
  • Expand the Applications and Technology
  • Create a Collaborative Environment
  • Empower the User Community
  • Benefit the Warfighter
  • WTN SUPPORTS THE ACADEMIC TEAM

    HPCMP team members include several academic partners along with OSC - the academic team leader for the Programming Environment and Training (PET) component of the project. The PET team of universities includes the Engineering Research Center at Mississippi State University; the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois; Florida State University; University of Tennessee at Knoxville; Morgan State University; Jackson State University; Clark Atlanta University; Oregon State University; University of Texas at El Paso and Ohio's Central State University. People Exchanging Technology is the approach program personnel like to think of when defining the "PET" acronym.

    Major PET tasks include:

  • Improving the programming environment
  • Technology transfer and collaboration
  • User training and graduate education
  • HPC advancement at historically black colleges and universities and at other minority institutions.
  • The PET component of the program enables researchers to exploit the capabilities of improved HPC resources. PET optimizes users through training and technology transfer, leverages academic resources, and coordinates HPC users in selected computational areas. The ASC MSRC has on site experts in the following areas:

  • Computational Chemistry and Materials Science (CCM);
  • Computational Electromagnetics and Acoustics (CEA);
  • Computational Electronics and Nano-electronics (CEN);
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD); and
  • Computational Structural Mechanics (CSM).
  • PET also supports the key technology area of Scientific Visualization, the use of computer graphics techniques to help researchers visualize and understand the results of their massive computations.

    As the PET program continues to develop ASC MSRC has been assigned the leadership role from the HPCMP office for the following components:

  • Forces Modeling and Simulation/C4I (FMS/C4I);
  • Integrated Modeling and Test Environments (IMT);
  • Signal/Image Processing (SIP);
  • Enabling Technologies.
  • WTN PROVIDES BROAD AND FLEXIBLE PROGRAM SUPPORT

    C-17 Globemaster III
    WTN supports PET because technology transfer is WTN's main mission. WTN is also ideally suited to provide valuable program support in a diverse set of tasking areas. For example:

    1. WTN leads the graduate education program called Cooperative Graduate Opportunities in High Performance Computing. WTN coordinates the activities of ASC, AFRL, AFIT, and the Dayton Area Graduate Studies Institute (DAGSI). The program provides financial support and relevant research projects for Master of Science and Doctoral degree candidates to gain HPC knowledge and experience along with their scientific studies. Graduates of the program will provide an additional source of HPC professionals to conduct research in areas related to DoD projects.

    ASC provides resources (including WTN support) through the HPCMP at the MSRC. AFRL provides its support through four AFRL Directorates at WPAFB (Air Vehicles, Materials and Manufacturing, Propulsion, and Sensors). Candidate graduate students come from DAGSI universities - AFIT, University of Dayton, Wright State University, University of Cincinnati, and The Ohio State University.

    The program vision is a preeminent computational science and engineering graduate education and research environment. The ASC MSRC provides world class computational tools. AFRL provides focused research projects. DAGSI universities provide academic instruction, student advisors, and ultimately MS and Ph.D. degrees.

    DAGSI provides full tuition scholarships to students at their home institutions. The students can take courses at any DAGSI university. ASC MSRC and AFRL Directorates hosting student research projects provide additional financial aid as stipends to defray student expenses.

    This collaborative program develops DoD HPC capabilities and encourages interdisciplinary approaches to research problems related to the warfighter community. It is an excellent example of the Federal Government, the State of Ohio, and academia accomplishing technology transfer and collaborative research while educating tomorrow's scientists.

    2. WTN supports a joint ASC/AFRL project to develop a Collaborative Enterprise Environment. Interoperable computing and collaborative environments are strategic goals of the ASC MSRC. This project combines ASC HPC resources with the AFRL Information Directorate Collaborative Simulation Technology Branch (AFRL/IFSD) at WPAFB. The objective is to develop a suitable collaborative environment enabling all AFRL Directorates to apply advanced distributive simulation and other information technologies for research and development.

    The Collaborative Enterprise Environment will support technology development, system design, and trade-off analyses of performance, cost, and producibility throughout the entire product and system engineering life cycle. The AFRL Commander has designated this as a major thrust within the Modeling and Simulation sector of his strategic plan and assigned the lead to the AFRL Information Directorate (AFRL/IF) at Rome, New York. The Sensors Directorate (AFRL/SN) at WPAFB is also participating.

    The PET Program provides candidate software frameworks that enable enterprise-wide collaboration on scientific and engineering processes. For example, the program uses partnerships with Florida State University and NCSA. These partners are demonstrating web-based use of MSRC resources, software collaboration tools and scientific visualization applications for use at distributed locations to control simulations and to share results.

    PET also provides applications from HPCMP computational technology areas to enhance the accuracy and validity of AFRL simulations. For example, certain software applications in computational electromagnetics are helpful in supporting design trade-off analyses based on mission simulations. MSRC also hosts simulation software on HPC systems to improve the speed of mission and battle simulations.

    This cooperative project between the PET program and AFRL supports the warfighter community through interdisciplinary approaches to research problems and through improved implementation of simulation-based acquisition. It is an excellent example of technology transfer and collaboration with academia to enhance DoD capabilities.

    3. WTN coordinates PET initiatives in the area of Minority Serving Institutions (MSI). Partners include Central State University (Ohio), Clark Atlanta University (Georgia), Morgan State University (Maryland) and Jackson State University (Mississippi).

    4. WTN assists the MSRC in developing a collaborative relationship with ASC System Program Offices (SPOs), who are responsible for managing Air Force weapon system acquisition and sustainment. Several ongoing initiatives include:

    C-17 SPO - WTN provided MSRC project management and worked with the C-17 SPO on a concept demonstration simulation to develop an operational readiness versus cost optimization model. This proof of concept study determined the feasibility of building a multi-object optimization simulation. Successful demonstration provided a template for a follow-on program.

    Logistics Support - With the successful demonstration of the optimization methodology concept, a decision was made to incorporate the optimization into this existing Air Force logistic support simulation model LCOM (Logistic Composite Model). WTN managed this effort for MSRC. A test version of the LCOM with the optimizer was delivered to the Air Force in July 2000 and will then be available for use in source selection activities and other studies. If funding becomes available, a second follow-on effort will look at taking an existing Air Force cost model and incorporating it into the optimizer so that it will be possible to optimize logistic support cost against a needed readiness level.

    Ribbon cutting for Air Force Logistic Composite Model (LCOM) demonstrated at the InfoTech 2000 at the Major Shared Resource Center (MSRC) booth. Pictured left to right: Mr. Rick Kitchen, GDIT Alliance: Mrs. Lynn Moad, Dayton Chapter President AFCEA; Senator Chuck Horn, Ohio; Gen. Lester Lyles, Commander AFMC; Gen. John Handy, Vice Chief of Staff, USAF; Mr. William Donahue, Lt. Gen. (USAF Ret.) VP Defense Group, CSC; and Mr. Anthony Perfilio, SES AFMC Law Office.
    Simulation Based Acquisition (SBA) - HPCMP is a key element in an initiative to revolutionize the way acquisition is done. SBA is an effort to leverage HPC to create collaborative work environments, make use of virtual and constructive simulations, and visualization tools to evaluate different design alternatives prior to building a design. WTN represents HPCMP PET on several ad-hoc committees that are formulating SBA initiatives at WPAFB.

    Forces Modeling and Simulation/C4I (FMS) - WTN provides program management support in structuring an FMS strategic plan for how the ASC MSRC will take up the leadership role across the HPCMP. This plan will address key elements in the how the MSRC can bring to the warfighter and the acquisition community a Joint Synthetic Battlespace (JSB). This JSB can have a dual utilization, it can provide a virtual environment for training air crews and an environment where high level system trade studies can be conducted. These studies will make use of the MSRC large data storage capability.

    5. An important HPCMP PET goal is to increase the size and effectiveness of the DoD HPC user community. To this end, WTN performs several outreach activities. WTN personnel write HPCMP-related articles for the ASC MSRC Journal. The Journal is published and is widely distributed throughout the DoD scientific community. WTN also provides public relations support and assists in publicizing HPCMP activities and accomplishments to academic, business, and government communities. WTN participates in HPC user conferences and interacts with other DoD MSRCs and Distributed Centers to encourage collaborative research and interoperable computing among all of the DoD HPC centers.

    Dr. Wade Adams, keynote speaker and Dr. Ruth Pachter, symposium chair of the Fourth annual MAPINT (Multidisciplinary Applications and Interoperable) Computing Symposium held in Dayton, Ohio.

    HPCMP Success Stories

     
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