Supercomputing and Cloud Computing: the art of war, 2030 edition

Sun-Tzu“”Every battle is won before that it begins” wrote Sun Tzu, a quote that the army wants to apply at the foot of the letter. To determine the best strategy before you fight a battle, the U.S. Army is very interested in supercomputers. This is more to use high-powered computers to break the opponent encryption codes, or even engage in numerical simulations of new weapons, but properly simulating the battle to determine the best combat tactics. To achieve the U.S. Army wants to develop a supercomputer twice more powerful than the most powerful calculator currently in production. A “wargame” 100 petaflop/s!

Predictive technologies applied to battlefield

ARL (U.S. Army Research Laboratory) has just published an interesting document, its ‘ Technical Implementation Plan ‘. It is in some way its plan of technological development for the period 2015-2019. It can discover U.S. Army technology priorities for the years to come. These include some rather interesting to follow tracks.

Soldiers following a tactic developed by artificial intelligence, it is coming soon.

Soldiers following a tactic developed by artificial intelligence, it is coming soon.

Among the priority of ARL, military researchers called the “Tactical High Performance Computing”. It’s a bit Big Data applied to ground forces. By accumulating data from satellites, aircraft reconnaissance, drones and troops on the ground, the predictive algorithms and artificial intelligence techniques should be able to guide the troops on the ground and generate real-time tactics that will enable the troops to take the battle. It is even planned to place an EEG (electroencephalogram) on each soldier helmet to measure his stress level and therefore to integrate this dimension into algorithms that will evaluate the chances of success of the attack.
There is nothing a simple view of the spirit since the U.S. military wants to develop a supercomputer with a power of 100 Teraflop/s. Currently, the most powerful calculator in production in the world, it is the Chinese Tianhe-2 and it displays a power peak of 54 petaflop/s “only”. The supercomputer n ° 1 in France, it is the Total Exploration Production Pangea which displays less than 2.3 petaflop/s. Hence the ambitions of the U.S. Army.

The Cloud in the service of the soldier in intervention

A Cloudlet of such facial recognition imagined by researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University.

A Cloudlet of such facial recognition imagined by researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University.

Ambitions that obviously do not stop at the only tactic. The ARL advances the notion of Cloudlets, Cloud applications with the provisions of the soldiers on the ground. Thus, the soldier who capture an insurgent will be able to send a photo of his prisoner in the cloud or a facial recognition service will be able to return the identity of the suspected person. The Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University has already worked on this architecture Cloud offering infrastructure based on Linux Ubuntu servers and virtual machines that will enter into communication with the portable terminals of the soldiers to Exchange data.
In addition to these projects under development, the report of the ARL evokes tracks of medium and long term research. Thus, its mentioned ways to generate the fuel directly in the theatre of operations through alternative methods, the search for new materials be it electronics, energy storage or facilitate handling of agents chemical, biological, nuclear, or explosive, the use of microbes to generate chemical components, and of course quantum computing. We know the interest of the NSA for quantum processors that allowed him to break any code instantly, the army sees in this technology for other applications. The ability to teleport data instantly and securely interested him, as well as the ability of calculation of quantum processor could unleash its capabilities of fusion in time real all of the data collected by the sensors on the battlefield.

Sources :

“Army Research Laboratory Technical Implementation Plan 2015 – 2019”

Tactical Cloudlets: Moving Cloud Computing to the Edge“, SEI Blog, November 10, 2014

Cloud Computing for the Battlefield“, SEI Blog, June 20, 2011

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