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Sun to Utilize Java to Provide Department of Defense High Productivity Solutions
Sun to Utilize Java to Provide Department of Defense High Productivity Solutions

(December 20, 2002) - Sun Microsystems, Inc., has been awarded a 12-month contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the High Productivity Computing Systems (HPCS) program. The goal of the HPCS program is to provide the next generation of high productivity computing systems to address future Department of Defense (DoD) high-performance requirements in a number of critical areas, including: weather and ocean forecasting; analysis of circulation patterns and the dispersal of airborne vectors; cryptoanalysis; weapons, survivability and stealth design; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; virtual manufacturing and failure analysis; and emerging biotechnology.

Sun's effort for Phase I of the HPCS Program is led by a team of Sun Microsystems Laboratories scientists and Sun Distinguished Engineers who will work in collaboration with scientists from the Information Science Institute at the University of Southern California. Sun proposes a Java technology-oriented approach to productivity and performance. Sun will be conducting programming language research so that the same improvements already made in other application areas can be realized by those working on large computational problems. Language extensions for arrays, interval arithmetic, and complex arithmetic together with optimized programming libraries will allow scientists such as astronomers and biologists to realize the same productivity gains already achieved in so many Web-related application areas.

"The Java Programming Language and Java Virtual Machine together with the Java HotSpot compiler have demonstrated that, for certain application areas, the executed code can be more efficient than using traditional programming languages. A similar efficiency may be realized for large computational problems," said James Gosling, Sun Fellow and researcher, Sun Laboratories. "Because of the semantics of the Java language, program analysis and compiler technologies will lead to more efficient data movement and thread management. An even greater level of performance might also be achieved if the machine design supports the program analysis and compiler technologies." For more information, visit www.darpa.mil/ipto/research/hpcs/index.html

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

Scientist's minds "slam shut" for good reason when they hear that Java has no complex type. You have two options: (1) Use a Java class Complex and create objects on the heap every time you need a complex number (imagine what happens when you need an array of 10^5 complex numbers); or (2) pull all your expressions apart into real and imaginary pieces and laboriously code using only floats or doubles. Option (1) costs you two to three *orders of magnitude* in performance, and option (2) is incredibly painful and error-prone.

For scientists, this interest from DARPA is great news. Imagine small objects that live on the stack rather than the heap (no garbage collection necessary), generics done right as opposed to the C++ template nightmare, Java's loony floating-point restrictions lifted...

Several years ago I had a conversation with a prominent computer scientist at Bell Labs who told me that with some effort Java could actually be faster than Fortran for scientific apps. Perhaps that day is coming and Fortran can be retired at last.

BEA has the best Java application server and JVM for DOD. DOD has thousands of deployments across all defense programs.

Hopefully a 'complex' primitive type will be one positive result of this. I believe the biggest impediment to Javas use in science and engineering applications is its lack of a 'complex' primitive. Not for practical reasons, but simply because most scientists minds slam shut to Java as soon as they hear this datum.

My background is science, but I wish to do OO design and development in the worlds foremost OO language. Unfortunately, there seem to be only boring biz applications out there so far.

One goal of this work is to bring enhancements to java for supporting high-performance computing. It would be great for java to become a recognized viable option in numerically intensive and parallel computing domains. There are areas in numerical computation that java can be improved upon.

As far as DARPA; remember that DARPA came from ARPA, which funded/managed ARPANET, which brought in the www, which lead to java's immense popularity and growth.

The Department of Defense is already using Java in a big way and has been since JDK 1.1. The DoD wants portable and scalable solutions because it uses a variety of UNIX, Linux, Windows, and even the lowly Mac workstations.

Well then, which of you Little Bo Peeps
believes Sun has lost its way?

By using the ubiquitous phrase "for certain application areas" DARPA has is free to test any application of Java. DARPA's job will be to delineate those application areas for the Defense Department (also read Homeland Security in here). What is needed is guidance and what DARPA will do is the research and give the guidance.

It would be shaming to know Java having been used to kill, destroy and dis-develope the most human and enlightened country in the Moslem world one day. tomte.

Quote from licence distributed with Java 1.4.1_01:
"Licensee acknowledges that Licensed Software is not designed or intended for use in the design, construction, operation or maintenance of any nuclear
facility."

How do they work around this?
-Barry




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