DARPA awards Cray $250 million contract to develop supercomputer

SEATTLE, 27 Nov. 2006. Global supercomputer maker Cray Inc. has been awarded a $250 million agreement from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a supercomputer based on the company's Adaptive Supercomputing vision, a phased approach to hybrid computing that integrates a range of processing technologies into a single scalable platform.

SEATTLE, 27 Nov. 2006. Global supercomputer maker Cray Inc. has been awarded a $250 million agreement from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a supercomputer based on the company's Adaptive Supercomputing vision, a phased approach to hybrid computing that integrates a range of processing technologies into a single scalable platform.

"The DARPA HPCS program is an important force that is shaping the future of HPC and the entire computer industry," says Peter Ungaro, Cray's president and CEO.

DARPA introduced the High Productivity Computing Systems (HPCS) program to facilitate development of the next generation of supercomputers for the national security, research, and industrial user communities.

Cray's HPCS development program, code-named "Cascade," will produce a system with exceptional programmability, portability, and robustness -- capable of scaling to unprecedented levels of sustained performance on real applications.

Under the Cascade program, Cray will develop a new hybrid system architecture that combines multiple processor technologies, a new high-performance network, and an adaptive software layer into a single integrated system. Designed to efficiently scale to large numbers of processors, the system will maximize productivity and performance by automatically matching the most effective processor technology to each application.

Over the course of the contract, Cray will incorporate elements of the Cascade program into commercially available products, including the peak-petaflops supercomputer, code-named "Baker," that will be delivered to the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). In addition, ORNL will be one of Cray's Phase III partners, focused around scaling from both the systems perspective and the performance of key applications.

"High productivity computing is a key technology enabler for meeting our national security and economic competitiveness requirements," notes Dr. William Harrod, DARPA program manager, in the DARPA press release announcing the Phase III award. "High productivity computing contributes substantially to the design and development of advanced vehicles and weapons, planning and execution of operational military scenarios, the intelligence problems of cryptanalysis and image processing, the maintenance of our nuclear stockpile, and is a key enabler for science and discovery in security-related fields."

Cray's Cascade program will exploit the technological expertise of a variety of industry-leading partners in areas such as software tools and compilers, file systems, and storage. In addition, Cray will leverage AMD Opteron and HyperTransport technologies from Cray's long-standing strategic partner, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD).

The DARPA Phase III award provides milestone-based funding for the effort, which extends through 2010. In addition to DARPA's contribution, Cray and its partners will also make substantial investments in the Cascade program.

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