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CHIPS Articles: New Science, Technology and Reinvention Laboratory Establishes Advanced High Performance Computing Lab

New Science, Technology and Reinvention Laboratory Establishes Advanced High Performance Computing Lab
By Sarah MacMillan, Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center - February 8, 2021
Naval Facilities Engineering Systems and Expeditionary Warfare Center (NAVFAC EXWC) Command Information Office (CIO) establishes a High Performance Computing Lab (HPCL) to upgrade outdated research, development, testing and evaluation (RDT&E) assets.

As a new Science and Technology Reinvention Laboratory (STRL), NAVFAC EXWC maintains a vast science and technology portfolio that seeks to address a broad array of computer and science research. The HPCL, spearheaded by NAVFAC EXWC Office of the Technical Director, is part of an STRL initiative to offer greater innovative technologies for NAVFAC EXWC researchers supporting the nation’s sea and shore defense strategies.

“This new capability reestablishes NAVFAC EXWC’s commitment to the Navy and Marine Corps team,” said Mr. Kail Macias, NAVFAC EXWC Technical Director. The HPCL enhances agility; EXWC engineers, scientists, and technicians can now collaborate real-time with customers and stakeholders. Our mission is essential—EXWC is a premier warfare center, providing RDT&E and in-service engineering to deliver solutions to the fleet. The HPCL is a direct result of our new STRL authorities enabling us to anticipate needs, provide innovative solutions, and accelerate the transfer of technology rapidly to the warfighter.”

Prior to HPCL installation, NAVFAC EXWC had extremely limited access to the Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN). Now—with the expanded DREN capability—NAVFAC EXWC researchers can investigate innovative ideas by exploiting the new features, and high-performing systems. The new DREN-connected RDT&E HPCL also improves NAVFAC EXWC’s cybersecurity posture, by partnering with Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific to provide a properly accredited environment that is easier to maintain in lifecycle as compared to the legacy standalone systems.

Access to the DREN offers NAVFAC EXWC researchers access to collaborate online with other warfare centers through the High Performance Computing Modernization Program—a program that provides access to supercomputers, a national research network, and computational science experts that offer Defense laboratories and test centers a safe, collaborative space to conduct RDT&E.

“The creation of the HPCL provides NAVFAC EXWC with the necessary computing needs to expand our modeling and simulation capability,” said Jeffrey Hussey, NAVFAC EXWC Acting Command Information Officer. “These capabilities will allow the command to provide the warfighter with vital information to ensure that mission needs are met.”

NAVFAC EXWC’s Capital Improvements Geographic Information System (CI GIS) team began utilizing the HPCL to collect point cloud and photogrammetry data to create virtual models of naval installations. Meshing data procured from the HPCL into a virtual model on the original computers took upwards of 72 hours. The new HPCL allows the CI GIS team—and other NAVFAC EXWC researchers—the ability to collect and mesh data within the same day to determine if additional data is required for a complete virtual model.

“Returning HPCL compiled data can be a critical tool in a time of emergency,” said Christian Bowers, NAVFAC EXWC HPCL Manager. “For example, in the event of a natural disaster, this technology will enable us to identify and assess damage to utilities and infrastructure, and dispatch repair teams in a timely manner.”

To ensure the HPCL operates at optimal capability, the lab manager will collaborate with CIO and the HPCL stakeholders to evaluate upgrade requirements for the HPCL in real-time to meet evolving mission requirements. This includes updates to the advanced modeling software suite, exploration of machine learning and artificial intelligence tools, and acquisition of additional computational capability. As technology evolves, refreshing the HPCL will happen more frequently and may eventually involve a leasing model to reduce lifecycle costs.

The NAVFAC EXWC HPCL will perform a virtual ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 3 P.M. PST at NAVFAC EXWC, Port Hueneme, California.

NAVFAC EXWC is a command of more than 1,300 dedicated federal employees, contractors, and military personnel who provide science, research, development, testing, evaluation, specialized engineering, and mobile logistics capabilities to deliver sustainable facility and pragmatic expeditionary solutions to the warfighter.

For more news from NAVFAC EXWC, please visit https://www.navfac.navy.mil/ or visit us on Facebook @NAVFACEXWC

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