SGI Arms Sikorsky With Virtual Proving Ground for Next-Generation Aircraft
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Oct. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Long before new military aircraft are built, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation is saving time and taxpayers' money by virtually proving digital prototypes inside computer- generated wind tunnels and battle scenarios. To test how a new aircraft will perform, Sikorsky relies on server and storage solutions from Silicon Graphics (NYSE: SGI).
Sikorsky, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation (NYSE: UTX), is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of advanced helicopters for commercial, industrial and military uses. A longtime SGI customer, Sikorsky recently deployed the SGI(R) solutions at its Bridgeport, Conn., facility to support computer-aided engineering design and analyses of current and future aircraft. The project includes such vertical take-off and landing vehicles as the US Navy's Heavy Lift Replacement helicopter, the US Army's UH- 60M BLACK HAWK helicopter, the new Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR-X) for the US Air Force, and aircraft for Canada's Maritime Helicopter Program, and the new high speed X2 Technology(TM) demonstrator.
Shipped in June, Sikorsky engineers are armed with a high-density SGI(R) Altix(R) 3700 Bx2 system powered by 128 Intel(R) Itanium(R) 2 processors and 512GB of memory, an SGI(R) Altix(R) 350 system with 32 processors and 64GB of memory, and a 9TB SGI(R) InfiniteStorage solution, which enables them to subject digital models of new aircraft rotors or wings -- or even entire helicopters -- to the type of forces they would encounter in flight. To do so, they quickly access large data sets from the InfiniteStorage array and run complex 2D and 3D electromagnetic calculations, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and finite element analysis (FEA) studies with the Altix system.
"Altix allows us to run operational analyses, including force-on-force scenarios that the vehicle might experience in a supply mission, a troop rescue effort, or a battle situation," said Joseph Pantalone, Sikorsky technical fellow and chief of Survivability and Low Observable Technology. "With Altix, we can design, analyze, and model specific components and subsystems, as well as the aircraft as a whole supporting numerous air vehicle and system integration attributes."
"Highly detailed analysis of a helicopter rotor, propulsion, and electromagnetic systems, reveal how the aircraft performs. We can look at the systems individually to get comprehensive analytical data of their components," said Pantalone. "Or we can look at how a specific component performs as part of the overall aircraft system as it is executing required flight maneuvers." SGI flexibility ensures security
The flexible, high-performance architectures of SGI's Altix servers and InfiniteStorage solutions also make it easy for Sikorsky to meet the unique computing and security demands that come with serving multiple government clients.
National security policies mandate that computing projects must be conducted separately, so that no project mingles with another. In the past, this meant that servers could run only one job at a time. But SGI Altix allows Sikorsky engineers to separate the system's CPUs and memory into different partitions, effectively providing an entirely distinct platform for each job. This allows engineers to have projects from multiple clients securely running simultaneously -- and still separately -- on a single Altix system.
"With our Altix configuration, we can support simultaneous multiple segregated small programs, or a single very large program with a system that is reconfigurable without moving a single piece of computer hardware," said Pantalone, whose team previously performed high-end constructive simulation on UNIX(R) systems before moving to the 64-bit Novell SUSE Linux(R) Enterprise Server environment available on Altix. "We might also need to commit, say, 300GB of memory to a single job while partitioning the rest of the CPUs and memory across five other projects. The Altix architecture makes it easy to partition the system on the fly to satisfy both our security constraints and our productivity needs."
Memory availability is crucial to Sikorsky, whose problems often require half a terabyte of RAM. "We have to solve a lot of problems out of core memory," added Pantalone. "Without a large shared-memory system, we have to access the data in bits and pieces. But with this new Altix system and 512GB of memory, we can dramatically decrease our run times."
To support projects running on Altix, Sikorsky also purchased a 9TB SGI InfiniteStorage TP900 disk array. Flexibility of the direct-attached storage solution is also a key advantage for Sikorsky engineers, who can devote a terabyte or more to each project, mirroring the partition approach that separates projects on the Altix. "We save a lot of time by being able to quickly load large data sets from the InfiniteStorage array and then work with that data directly in memory," Pantalone said.
Sikorsky uses the Altix 350 server for software development and to stage projects prior to moving them onto the larger Altix system. Another half- terabyte of disk storage completes the development configuration. Lower total cost of ownership
"We have a lot of history with SGI," said Pantalone. "We selected Altix and InfiniteStorage because it provided the best performance, value and support. With all our analytical tools, this solution puts the lowest possible burden on our staff in terms of ease of use and administration. It reduces the total cost of ownership."
Sikorsky also cited the Altix system's ability to independently scale processors, memory, and I/O. "As our needs change, we'll be able to scale within the existing system, rather than having to purchase an entirely new server," Pantalone explained. "This is a big differentiator compared to other solutions we looked at."
SGI Altix server and InfiniteStorage solutions are particularly well suited to Sikorsky's complex engineering applications, due in large part to SGI's third-generation NUMAflex(TM) architecture. This unique global shared- memory architecture enables engineers to hold entire data sets in memory, allowing for faster and more interactive data analysis, and resulting in more incisive conclusions. SILICON GRAPHICS | The Source of Innovation and Discovery(TM)
SGI, also known as Silicon Graphics, Inc. (NYSE: SGI), is a leader in high-performance computing, visualization and storage. SGI's vision is to provide technology that enables the most significant scientific and creative breakthroughs of the 21st century. Whether it's sharing images to aid in brain surgery, finding oil more efficiently, studying global climate, providing technologies for homeland security and defense or enabling the transition from analog to digital broadcasting, SGI is dedicated to addressing the next class of challenges for scientific, engineering and creative users. With offices worldwide, the company is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., and can be found on the Web at http://www.sgi.com . Silicon Graphics, SGI, Altix, the SGI cube and the SGI logo are registered trademarks, and NUMAflex and The Source of Innovation and Discovery are trademarks of Silicon Graphics, Inc., in the United States and/or other countries worldwide. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in several countries. Intel and Itanium are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners. MEDIA CONTACT
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