You are here

November 27, 2017

CSRA Demonstrates Dramatic Performance Increase of Fully-Integrated Biowulf Cluster

FALLS CHURCH, VA – CSRA Inc. (NYSE:CSRA) announced today that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Biowulf cluster has achieved a TOP500 ranking of No. 66. This distinction makes Biowulf the first supercomputer dedicated to health and biomedical research listed among the top 100 most powerful computers in the world.

Biowulf is designed to process a large number of simultaneous computations that are typical in genomics, image processing, statistical analysis, and other biomedical research areas. This achievement is the product of multiple phases of CSRA compute expansion for NIH. Additionally, CSRA has added an additional 17 petabtyes of storage. This addition more than doubles the storage capacity and increased input/output (I/O) bandwidth to 200 gigabytes per second to support data-intensive applications.

“We are proud to expand NIH’s supercomputing capability in this latest update to Biowulf,” said Vice President Kamal Narang, head of CSRA’s Federal Health Group. “CSRA’s world-renowned HPC experts partnered with NIH to achieve this milestone and continue to empower NIH research. Together we can support the important mission of NIH to discover new cures and save lives.”

The Biowulf cluster’s dramatic increase in power enables NIH researchers to make important advances in biomedical fields. This research relies heavily on computation, such as whole-genome analysis, simulation of pandemic spread, analysis of human brain MRIs, and machine learning algorithms to study Alzheimer’s disease. Results from these analyses may enable new treatments for diseases including cancer, diabetes, heart conditions, infectious disease, and mental health.

Biowulf profiled at 1.966 petaflops (1.966 thousand trillion floating-point operations per second) on the November 13, 2017 TOP500 list of supercomputing sites. It features:

  • Compute nodes from Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • Intel processors and NVIDIA Graphics Processor Units (GPU)
  • Large-scale storage from Data Direct Networks
  • Infiniband interconnect components from Mellanox Technologies
  • Ethernet switches from Brocade Communication Systems
  • Cooling solution from the Capitol Power Group, including Motivair chilled doors

Biowulf includes:

  • 2,448 compute nodes
  • 96 GPU nodes
  • Enhanced Data Rate (EDR)/Fourteen Data Rate (FDR) Infiniband fabric
  • 30 petabytes of GPFS online storage

As the prime contractor, CSRA procured all of the components and managed the integration and installation of the equipment into the Biowulf system while collaborating with several industry partners. CSRA is also helping support the ongoing operation of the Biowulf cluster.

A leader in High Performance Computing (HPC) services, CSRA offers a wide variety of solutions for government customers to achieve important mission objectives. Last April, the company was awarded a $51 million contract to support the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) HPC systems. CSRA is also a strong partner with NASA, supporting its Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS) HPC needs since 2000 – and NASA Ames’ HPC for an even longer period.

In addition to NIH, NASA, and the EPA, CSRA supports supercomputers used by NOAA, CDC, and the Department of Defense. This technology is used for applications ranging from aerospace system design, climate and weather modeling, astrophysics, ecosystems modeling, to health and medical research.

For more information on CSRA’s High Performance Computing and storage projects, contact

About General Dynamics Information Technology
For more information about General Dynamics Information Technology, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), please visit

About General Dynamics
Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, General Dynamics (NYSE:GD) is a global aerospace and defense company that offers a broad portfolio of products and services business aviation; combat vehicles, weapon systems and munitions; C4ISR and IT solutions; and shipbuilding. The company’s 2017 revenue was $31 billion. More information is available at

Tom Doheny, Media Relations, 


This website includes press releases originally posted on prior to its acquisition by General Dynamics. This content was migrated to on July 9, 2018.​