The Defence Science and Technology Organisation’s (DSTO) Air Operations Simulation Centre in Melbourne creates virtual words that allow pilots to experience real-world combat situations without leaving the ground.
According to a Defence spokesman, the simulator boots in about 30 seconds and uses a cluster of 4-core Opteron 2218 servers, with nVidia Quadro FX 5600G graphics cards. The avionics and aerodynamics simulations run on a number of 8-core Opteron systems.
All the nodes run Suse Linux. Unlike traditional Linux clusters, which focus on throughput, these systems are tuned for real-time performance – using features of the kernel such as memory locking, real-time scheduling and low-delay communication.
The visuals software was written in OpenGL using commercial and open-source scene graph engines and making “heavy use of OpenGL Shader Language programs” for creating effects such as clouds, smoke and vegetation.