THE AUSTRALIAN Defence Force's latest flight simulator runs on SuSE Linux-based clusters of Opteron servers.
According to IT News, the machine is based at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation's Air Operations Simulation Centre in Melbourne.
The simulation centre creates virtual worlds that allow pilots to experience real-world combat situations without leaving the ground.
Greg Combet, Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, said the new Linux based facility provides a "far more realistic and immersive experience for pilots and operators" than anything they had to play with before.
According to a spokesman, the simulator 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. The simulator is said to boot in about 30 seconds.
All the nodes are based on the SuSE Linux distribution and are tuned for real-time performance. Apparently this involves using memory locking, real-time scheduling and low-delay communication features in the Linux kernel.
Code to run the visuals 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.
The simulator reportedly displays realistic and accurate aerodynamic and avionics models and is configurable to explore "novel systems and concepts". µ
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