IBM Technology helps U.S. Airforce Design Safer Planes

RS/6000 SP Supercomputer Selected by Wright-Patterson

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Dayton, Ohio - 17 Nov 1999: ... IBM today announced that the Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC) Major Shared Resource Center (MSRC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has installed an IBM RS/6000 SP supercomputer to support its aircraft safety research.

This Wright-Patterson system ranks fifty-ninth on the TOP500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers issued this week. (

The RS/6000 SP enables the ASC MSRC to carry out complex calculations and simulations pertaining to computational fluid dynamics, computational chemistry and materials, signal/image processing, computational electronics and nanoelectronics, computational electro-magnetics and acoustics, and computational structural mechanics to improve the safety and security features of airplanes.

These simulation tests are designed to analyze how certain factors like wind flow, heat and combustion processes affect the aerodynamics and structural composition of aircraft. Engineers using the RS/6000 SP to identify the ideal compound for designing the interior and exterior structures of planes. The aim is build a stronger, safer aircraft.

"Wright Patterson's use of an RS/6000 SP gives them access to the world's leading high performance computing platform." says Michael Henesey, director worldwide sales and marketing for scientific and technical computing, IBM RS/6000. "More and more researchers are turning to the SP for critical research in many industries including transportation, energy, and health care."

The strength in the RS/6000 SP lies in its gigaflops (GFLOPS) performance allowing it to complete as many as 211 billion calculations per second. The new SP installed at Wright Patterson has 132 SMP nodes. Each node contains two POWER3 processors, 2 gigabytes of memory, 18 gigabytes of disk, the newest IBM compilers, and AIX, IBM's UNIX operating system. This parallel processing platform is more than ten times as powerful as the system made famous during Deep Blue's historic 1997 victory over world chess champion Garry Kasporov.

"Defense scientists and engineers must constantly push the boundaries of known science to keep the technological edge for America's aviation industry. We need to keep America's fighting forces out of harm's way and the only way to do this is to be able to depend on a reliable and scalable supercomputing platform that has become synonymous with the SP," said John Blair, Deputy Director, ASC Major Shared Research Center, Wright-Patterson Airforce Base. "Its hard work but the payoff is that our military systems are top-notch."

To assist users in large scale computing, the new SP system at Wright Patterson will provide one terabyte (one trillion bytes) of disk storage.

The Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright Patterson Air Force Base was selected as the site of a Major Shared Resource Center, one of four, high-performance computing locations in the United States. The MSHC forecasts the needs of the Department of Defense well into the 21st century and tackles large-scale problems previously beyond the reach of current processing platforms. The MSRC, which will facilitate teaming with industry and several colleges and universities,* features computer-system upgrades enabling a three-fold and ultimately, 10-fold computing increase in capabilities.

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Additional information on RS/6000 systems can be found at RS/6000 SP information is available at

More information about Wright Patterson is available

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*Universities affiliated with MSRC include:

Ohio State University

Mississippi State University

University of Illinois

Syracuse University

University of Tennessee

Jackson State University

University of New Mexico

Clark Atlanta University

Central State University, Ohio

Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD

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