Annex E. International Armaments Strategy
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)

G. Computing and Software

While military applications will increasingly rely on COTS, there remain unique requirements for which technological advances in basic computing hardware and software will be required. These fall into the realm of so-called "grand challenge", which will require Tera (1015) Operations/second. Several different approaches are being considered, each of which--if ultimately realized--is likely to offer certain inherent advantages for different applications. High-performance computing and scalable parallel systems are of particular importance. Optical processing techniques combine elements of both and are being pursued as a means of increasing inherent parallelism and computation throughput. Software advances are seen as a way to allow aggregation of very large numbers of computing elements. Both of these approaches lend themselves to solutions to complex deterministic problems (i.e., problems for which a sequence of calculations to reach a specific solution can be defined). By contrast neural networks provide a better way of attacking less determinate problems.

Table E.II-6 below highlights significant capabilities and trends in key areas of computing and software. High performance computing is an area of international research and development. In addition to France, which is recognized as a world leader in photonics, Japan, and Russia have had strong programs in optical computing; Germany has a growing interest, and has strong capabilities in production of photodynamically active bacteriorhodopsin films which may prove to be an enabling technology for future optical/molecular computers. Israel has a small, but sound and growing electrooptics infrastructure as well. The growth of the Internet and multi-media are producing growing demand for development and global implementation of very high-speed digital networks. Development of these is an international activity, with cooperation among major telecommunications firms. One example is the Japanese Real-World Computing program which includes a number of other countries as participants.


Table E.II-6. Computing and Software

HIGH PERFORMANCE COMPUTING AND SCALABLE PARALLEL SYSTEMS MPP Optical processing MPP Artificial neural networks   Artificial neural networks
NETWORKING Optical switching Tactical fiber optic systems Fiber optic systems Canada optical switching and networks China Fiber optics Optical switching and networks
SOFTWARE ENGINEERING Software for MPP and neural networks India Israel CASE and applications  
HUMAN COMPUTER INTERFACE Visually- coupled systems Visually- coupled systems Visually- coupled systems Canada Visually- coupled systems Large data-set representation
Italy Haptic/tactile sensors
Visually- coupled interfaces

International software developments are enabled by widespread availability of very powerful microprocessor-based symmetrical multi-processing systems. A number of countries, including Israel, India, and Russia are actively engaged in commercial cooperative software developments. Increasing processing capability has also led to a growing level of international interest and work in intelligent systems and human composite interfaces.

The following subsections identify specific opportunities where existing or near-term pending agreements offer significant potential benefits.