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UH Alliance pursues Maui High Performance Computing Center contract

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   March 14th, 2011 · 5 Comments · Maui News

By Wendy Osher

MHPCC officials unveil the Mana, the largest Supercomputer on the South Maui campus. The Supercomputer was dedicated in August of 2009, doubling the center’s computing power. File photo by Wendy Osher.

The University of Hawaiʻi (UH) in conjunction with industry leaders in high technology, are pursuing the Maui High Performance Computing Center Contract, which is expected to begin October 1, 2011.

The newly forged academic industry alliance between UH, Lockheed Martin, Pacific Defense Solutions, Referentia Systems Incorporated, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is aimed at supporting long-term sustainability.  The new alliance also supports the success of the Hi-Tech center in South Maui as a vital national asset and cornerstone of high technology in the state.

The Maui High Performance Computing Center has been under the management and operation of the University of Hawaii since 2001. Over the past 10 years, UH has led the transformation of the center into a major national Department of Defense Supercomputing Resource Center.

UH President M.R.C. Greenwood said the new alliance will help to take the Maui center to the next level of achievements.  “Our ‘Home Team’ is eminently capable and well-prepared to continue our outstanding record of performance into the future for the benefit of our nation and the state of Hawaiʻi,” said Greenwood.

About the participating companies:

  • Lockheed Martin is recognized as the largest provider of IT services, systems integration, and training to the U.S. government.  The company currently manages four of the major DoD Supercomputing Resource Centers on the U.S. mainland.
  • Pacific Defense Solutions (PDS) is a Maui-based and locally owned small business with nationally recognized subject matter experts in the fields of Space Situational Awareness (SSA), electro-optic systems, modeling and simulation.
  • Referentia is a global small business headquartered in Honolulu that provides world-class innovative cyber security technology and solutions.
  • The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a U.S. Department of Energy multi-program science and technology laboratory that is currently the world’s largest supercomputing center.

***Supporting information, courtesy the University of Hawaii.

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  • Atê

    Based upon current performance metrics, the UH rebid will fail. Contrary to the positive spin this article paints, the center is in great trouble under its current leadership with the massive exodus of its best and brightest. Employee moral is next zero, with the abuse of power within, and unchecked retaliation against employees. Tech employees of Maui welcome new players to run the center in a fair and equitable manor.

    Ας προσέξουμε να μην αγοραστή

  • Captain Obvious

    While I appreciate the sentiment expressed by Atê, I think the writer is mistaken.

    I think the UH rebid will be successful. Whether right or wrong, there’s a lot of inertia behind maintaining the status quo. Any company capable of winning against the incumbent would hopefully possess the level of acumen necessary to avoid the MHPCC like the disaster it is. And speaking of disasters, I think the Pacific Disaster Center should lend its name to the computing center and find a new one for itself.

    The MHPCC is a stunning example of cargo-cult thinking — if we build a big enough computer, important jobs will come. But that thinking is backwards — the key to nurturing innovations in supercomputing is creating an environment for innovative PEOPLE, not innovative computers. You can’t call 1-800-"Dude, you’re gettin’ a supercomputer!" to make magic happen. In fact, it really doesn’t matter where on earth the physical computer is installed. The Internet works, let’s stop pretending it doesn’t exist. Speaking of supercomputing, I would love to know how much "computing" has happened at the MHPCC in the last decade. I’m guessing it’s equivalent to 89-cents of Amazon EC2. Ok, that’s not fair. I can’t compare the MHPCC to EC2. After all, Amazon doesn’t have to pay the highest electric rates in the country. Why on Earth would they do that? Really, why would they? One more time for dramatic flair… Why would Amazon install a computing facility on an island with the highest electric prices in the US? Oh yeah, they wouldn’t, because that would be insane!

    I guess I’ll just go ahead and say it… the MHPCC is indefensible as a practical concern. It was born and nurtured by a man every American should feel proud of. But the political winds will shift, and his support will not be part of the MHPCC’s future. The center cannot stand on its own — it has no raison d’etre, no reason to exist.

    Even if weren’t for the death knell of the monthly power bill, there is the center’s toxic culture. A culture that somehow manages to kill any good ideas or projects that come its way. The cancer that is the security department exercises Orwellian control through fear of reprisals. It maintains its power with indiscriminate and unmeasured personnel actions in the guise of policy enforcement. It has tendrils in the leadership and lives and breathes through personal relationships in the defense security service. This metastatic disease cannot and will not be cured. Any company wishing to inherit this mess is clearly misguided.

    I don’t know much about the rebid, and I don’t know which companies have dogs in the fight. I don’t want to know. I’ve seen dogs fight over a dirty diaper and it’s disgusting.

    You don’t need a supercomputer to predict the weather in Kihei — it’s not going to be much different tomorrow than it was today. Tomorrow it will be 80 and sunny, and it doesn’t matter who’s in charge of the MHPCC because it’s going to suck for most of the same reasons that it does today.

    Good luck to the companies wishing to unseat UH from its control of the MHPCC. May God grant each of you the divine favor of an unanswered prayer.

  • Volcano Man

    I can only full heartedly agree with the sentiment of the prior two posts. The security chief and center director have conspired for years to create a culture of fear to cover up years of incompetence on their part. Anyonewhom hires either of them is a fool.

  • Johnny Come Lately

    I agree with all the above letters and perhaps the final nail in the coffin has finally arrived in the form of a lawsuit against RCUH/MHPCC and its directors by an employee who could not stand the harassment and bullying any further.

    There is a cancer at MHPCC, and hopefully with a RCUH loss of the contract it will be eradicated and MHPCC can rebuild free of the clowns currently in charge. RCUH’s error is that is has not handled the problem of a few bad eggs, instead it chose to offer them a golden parachute should they lose.

    Enough is enough. No more rewarding incompetence. Good riddance.

  • KiheiBoi

    If UH wins the re-compete, there is going to be a walk out. We’ve had enough.