Wyoming to Be Home to One of the World’s Fastest Supercomputers

in News/Technology

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

One of the fastest supercomputers in the world will be in operation in Cheyenne by next year, where it will help scientists research a wide range of weather phenomena that affect society.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research announced this week that its new supercomputer would be funded by Hewlett-Packard to the tune of $35-$40 million. Once operational, the HPE-powered system is expected to rank among the top 25 or so fastest supercomputers in the world.

The supercomputer will be installed in Cheyenne sometime this year and will be operational by early 2022. It will replace the current system, which is known as “Cheyenne.”

“This new system is a major step forward in supercomputing power, providing the scientific community with the most cutting-edge technology to better understand the Earth system,” said Anke Kamrath, director of NCAR’s Computational and Information Systems Laboratory. “The resulting research will lead to new insights into potential threats ranging from severe weather and solar storms to climate change, helping to advance the knowledge needed for improved predictions that will strengthen society’s resilience to potential disasters.”

NCAR is holding a statewide contest for Wyoming students to propose a name for the new system.

The new machine will help scientists conduct research needed to better understand a range of phenomena that affect society, from the behavior of major wildfires to eruptions caused by solar storms that can threaten GPS and other sensitive technologies.

The new computer will have the ability to perform 19.87 quadrillion calculations per second, almost 3.5 times the speed of the Cheyenne supercomputer. That is the equivalent of every man, woman, and child on the planet solving one equation every second for a month.

“More powerful supercomputing is a vital component of the research infrastructure of our nation, enabling scientists to advance fundamental research and deepen our understanding of the complex and interconnected nature of the Earth system,” NCAR Director Everette Joseph said. “This new NWSC system will support basic research in ways that will lead to more detailed and useful predictions of the world around us, thereby helping to make our society more resilient to increasingly costly disasters and contributing to improved human health and well-being.”

In 2017, IBM contracted with the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center in Cheyenne with a project to help improve weather forecasting around the globe. 

Since the NWSC opened its doors in 2012, more than 4,000 users from more than 575 universities and other institutions across the nation and overseas have used its resources. 

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