DOD Opens Two Fresh Facilities to Field Next-Gen Supercomputers

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Officials can access new office space, conference rooms—and high-performance capabilities—in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

The Defense Department recently unveiled two new, ultramodern supercomputing research center facilities in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Funded in 2018, the spaces will enable major high-performance computing workloads to help solve some of the nation’s most complex and pressing challenges associated with national security. 

They were officially opened by the Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Information Technology Laboratory at a ribbon-cutting ceremony this month. 

“This kind of facility, much like the other state-of-the-art facilities at the Information Technology Laboratory and U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, enables us to discover, develop, and deliver innovative solutions that make our world safer and better each day,” ERDC’s Supercomputing Research Center Director Bobby Hunter told Nextgov on Friday.

Considered the premier research and development laboratory complex for the military, ERDC operates multiple, massive supercomputing systems that DOD engineers and scientists can turn to when conducting deeply challenging, data intensive studies. Within the ERDC-ITL, officials use high-performance computing to support the department’s research, test and evaluation community with next-level advanced capabilities to meet results they can’t reach with simple experimentation.

“Mississippi is actually home to more than 50 percent of the high-performance computing power available to the entire DOD, and we’re incredibly proud to be a part of that statistic,” Hunter explained.

The ERDC really started to excel in supercomputing during the early 1990s, around the time when DOD formed the High Performance Computing Modernization Program to ultimately provide a complete advanced computing environment for its enterprise. Since that point, ERDC-ITL has fielded some of the largest and most powerful systems in America, and the world.

Due to the sensitive nature of the unit’s technology and research, DOD officials said they could only share sparse details about everything these latest two facilities encompass.  

Still, in a press release, officials noted that fresh office space and conference rooms are being provided, as well as 10,000 square feet of raised floor space that is specifically dedicated to fielding large-scale, DOD supercomputers.

Hunter noted that when he kicked off his career at the laboratory two decades ago, the SRC facilities were housed in trailers.

“We’ve come a long way, and this kind of facility really pronounces the fact that we’re a world-class organization. I did learn that you can be a world-class organization in a trailer, but a facility such as this really makes that clear, especially when you’re doing recruiting,” he said. “It’s an impressive feature that we can share with people and get them excited to work with us.”