Army unsheathes Excalibur supercomputer

The 3.7 petaflop Cray Xc40 machine greatly boosts processing power at the Defense Supercomputing Resource Center.

Army Excalibur

The Army is amping up its research power with the addition of a new supercomputer, called Excalibur, that puts the processing power at the Defense Supercomputing Resource Center into the petaflop range.

Excalibur, a Cray Xc40 machine, can run at 3.7 petaflops (a petaflop is a quadrillion floating point operations per second), which the Army said makes it the 19th fastest supercomputer in the world. Researchers will use it to study underbody blasts on combat vehicles and how to protection soldiers in extreme ballistic environments, as well as work on tactical networks, cybersecurity network modeling, and real-time data analytics, the Army said in an announcement.

The DSRC, which allows all of the military services to conduct research at the facility at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is managed by the Army Research Laboratory.

Excalibur is now by far the center’s most powerful computer, followed by the 430 teraflop (trillion floating point operations per second) Pershing and the 360 teraflop Hercules, both of which are IBM iDataPlex machines.

Army Excalibur stats

Supercomputing rankings are somewhat fluid. In the most recent Top 500 ranking, released in June, Excalibur was ranked 26th. Within the Defense Department, the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Thunder was the highest ranked, with a peak performance of 4.6 petaflops. The Energy Department’s Titan is the fastest U.S. government computer, at second behind China’s Tianhe-2 (translation: Milky Way-2), which is going on three years at the top of the list, with a peak performance of 54.9 petaflops.

The Top 500’s next rankings, which are issued twice a year, will be announced in November.

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