HP forms grid design team

HP has teamed with industry and academia to use grid computing for the exploration of advanced, collaborative simulation and visualisation in aerospace and defence design.

HP has teamed with BAE Systems, the Institute of High Performance Computing in Singapore, Cardiff University and the University of Wales, Swansea, to use grid computing for the exploration of advanced, collaborative simulation and visualisation in aerospace and defence design.

As part of the collaboration, HP and BAE will work together to develop improved security measures for sharing grid-enabled applications and data.

As the electronic systems used in the aerospace and defence sectors become increasingly elaborate, the process of designing, visualising and simulating the operation of these systems becomes paramount. According to HP, this is particularly the case for computational electromagnetics (CEM), which poses some of today’s most complex and compute-intensive engineering problems.

CEM is critical not only to ensuring that the radar cross-section of complex platforms is understood, but that internal electrical systems are compatible, and that those systems can respond appropriately to external inputs, such as lightning strikes or electromagnetic radiation.

Grid experts at HP are working with researchers in BAE Systems’ Advanced Technology Centre (ATC), the Welsh e-Science Centre at Cardiff University and the University of Wales to grid-enable the applications that the ATC uses to create and test its most sophisticated designs, including future concepts such as the More Electric Aircraft and the All Electric Ship.

The grid-enabled computational electromagnetics project is funded by the UK’s Department of Trade and Industry as part of the UK e-Science Programme. The first phase of the project is expected to begin later this month.

Using existing nodes at the Institute of High Performance Computing, Singapore and BAE Systems’ ATC, plus advanced visualisation and modelling resources from Cardiff University and the University of Wales, the organisations will roll out a functioning, geographically dispersed grid that will be used to explore advanced techniques for industrial simulation and grid security.

‘This project will significantly help to develop grid technologies for industrial applications. The idea of an ‘extended enterprise,’ or ‘virtual organisation’ in which organisations with specialised skills come together to solve complex computational problems is a key element of the grid computing vision,’ said Alex Hardisty, manager, Welsh e-Science Centre at Cardiff University.

Later phases of the project will focus on the development of heightened security for grid environments, including the exploration of measures to enable the secure remote execution of highly proprietary applications.

By allowing external organisations that are members of a grid to run an application and report back the computational data without ever having access to the program’s underlying code, the security measures are expected to increase the protection of commercial organisations’ sensitive intellectual property, while still allowing them to take advantage of grid computing’s benefits.

‘We’re working to solve some of the security and information sharing worries that to date have prevented commercial companies from trusting a grid with running their most critical business applications,’ said, Martin Walker, segment manager, grids, HP Services.

‘Our work with BAE Systems will serve as a model for other businesses looking to leverage grid computing and underscores HP’s dedication to delivering real, functional grid solutions to the enterprise,’ added Walker.