How Governments are Changing the World with HPC and AI – HPCwire

A nation’s global competitiveness depends on its ability to harness high performance computing (HPC) for innovation. Here’s how HPC, bolstered by data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML), is helping governments tackle our most complex issues, from medical mysteries and world hunger to interplanetary research.


How can we best protect citizens? How can we help Veterans walk again? How can we help create a more sustainable future?

These are just a few of the countless big questions spiraling through the universe. But each represents a complex computational problem that high performance computing (HPC) is hard at work to solve.

HPC empowers governments to improve the lives and safety of citizens along with their global competitiveness. Combining massive compute power and storage capacity, HPC can process billions of bits of data every second to drive scientific discoveries, improve military outcomes, and create commercial innovation. An HPC foundation is necessary for heavy-duty data analytics that use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to generate real-time, often predictive insights and enable automated actions.

Increasingly, a nation’s use of HPC reflects its global economic posture. By modeling complex behavior, HPC fuels breakthroughs in everything from aerospace development to cryptography and weapons design. The ability to process and analyze massive datasets in real time presents limitless possibilities for bettering the world around us.

Nuclear stockpile management

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) uses HPC to protect nuclear weapons. HPC simulation and modeling have become critical since the discontinuation of underground U.S. nuclear testing in the 1990s. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory plans to begin expanding processing power for its computational scientists and those at Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories this year with 40 petaflops of HPC in next-generation Dell PowerEdge servers.

The agency said its HPC expansion, expected to last through 2025, will increase compute capacity for NNSA’s Advanced Simulation and Computing program by three to four times and enable higher-fidelity 2D and 3D simulations.

Medical breakthroughs

The Cineca scientific consortium’s Human Brain Project of uses HPC to advance the field of neuroscience and develop robotics with more human-like intelligence. About 90 European and international research institutes, including a U.S. federal lab, participate.

Dell PowerEdge servers powered by Intel® Xeon® Platinum processors and Intel Optane™ memory run enhanced brain simulation software that scientists have used to enable paraplegics to regain the ability to walk with brain-stimulation treatments. The same software is helping regulate the unstable blood pressure that’s common in victims of spinal cord injuries.

Another medical science project at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix  uses Dell Technologies HPC systems and storage to create a full genome in just 24 hours. Sequencing the first human genome was completed in 2003 and took 13 years. HPC enables the institute to quickly identify a gene mutation, make a diagnosis, and begin developing a treatment.

Weather and climate insights

Mother Nature creates concerns ranging from dressing for inclement weather to protecting the future viability of planet Earth. The U.S.’s NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS) provides HPC and data services to global weather and climate researchers. Its arsenal includes an HPC cluster built with hundreds of Dell PowerEdge servers for enabling large-scale analysis that helps researchers better understand issues such as how vulnerable or resilient various ecosystems are to environmental change.

In the shorter term, modeling gives forecasters a clearer view of the intensity, direction, and speed of a storm. Given that the U.S. now generally experiences extreme weather more frequently, these programs help governments adopt smarter disaster preparedness and recovery plans that help save lives, improve safety, and minimize damage.

Feeding the world

Between 720 and 811 million people faced hunger in 2020, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. On the forefront of agricultural transformation, New Jersey-based AeroFarms works to alleviate the systemic food crisis with indoor farming locations around the world.

It uses Dell Technologies HPC solutions, data analytics, and ML to model different types of plants and create a 100%-controlled environment that grows crops 365 days a year, unencumbered by traditional seasonal limitations. It reports having grown more than 850 different varieties of crops and estimates having achieved 390X greater productivity than commercial farming while using 95% less water.

Life on other planets?

In its quest to determine the habitability of Mars, for example, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shares data and analytics from its interstellar space missions with members of the scientific community and the public. The NASA Perseverance rover has been gathering telemetry sensor data, photos, and audio content from the Red Planet since February 2021. NASA aggregates hundreds of terabytes of interplanetary data in Dell PowerScale and Unity storage.

NASA correlates and analyzes Perseverance data in combination with data from its 30 years of space missions to advance our understanding of Mars and its potential for one day supporting human life. Scientists have discovered evidence of water, ice, and snow, for example, that the agency says are possible indicators that the planet once hosted microbial life.

These are a few ways governments and commercial enterprises are competing in the global economy using HPC and AI technologies. Visit delltechnologies.com/federal and delltechnologies.com/hpc to learn more.

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