Defense Department Awards $146 Million In Computing Contracts - InformationWeek

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Defense Department Awards $146 Million In Computing Contracts

The awards to three vendors are to help develop a new generation of computing systems for national security and commercial use.

The Defense Department is awarding $146.1 million to three IT vendors to help develop a new generation of economically viable, scalable, and high-productivity computing systems for national security and commercial use that would be available by the end of the decade.

The Defense Advance Research Projects Agency, known as Darpa, awarded $43.1 million to Cray Inc. and its subcontractor, New Technology Endeavors Inc., to develop Cascade, their high-productivity computing systems concept that allows for peta-scale--quadrillion transactions a second--computing.

The agency granted IBM $53.3 million to enhance its Productive, Easy-to-use, Reliable Computing Systems--called Percs--which accommodates a large set of commercial and high-performance computing workloads.

Sun Microsystems received $49.7 million to continue work on Hero, its integrated system approach, which provides a simplified architecture and novel programming tools that boost user productivity, enhance numerical precision, increase system security, and support legacy software, Darpa says. The architecture makes quadrillions of calculations a second readily available to programmers.

Darpa's high-performance computing systems program has three phases; these awards are part of phase two. The first phase was a yearlong, industry-guided concept study that provided critical technology assessments, developed revolutionary high-performance computing systems concept solutions, and generated new productivity metrics. According to Darpa, phase one produced revolutionary peta-scale system concepts that addressed sustained peta-scale performance, programmability, portability, and robustness. The second phase will last three years and will perform focused research and development and risk reduction engineering activities with the intent to provide a preliminary design review for each system. The third phase, slated to last four years, will be a full-scale engineering development effort.

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