IBM Picked To Supply Wyo. Climate Supercomputer

By Mead Gruver

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – IBM has beaten out three competitors and won a bid to supply one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers for use in climate research at a new facility in Cheyenne.

The supercomputer, to be called Yellowstone, will begin running computations next summer for scientists associated with the Boulder, Colo.-based National Center for Atmospheric Research, NCAR announced.

The machine will be capable of 1.6 petaflops. That’s 1.6 quadrillion operations per second – or more than 221,000 calculations per second for every man, woman and child on Earth – making it 30 times more powerful than the machine currently in use at NCAR’s Mesa Laboratory in Boulder.

It will likely be the world’s fastest supercomputer dedicated to Earth sciences and rank among the top 20 supercomputers in the world overall, said Anke Kamrath, director of operations and services for NCAR’s Computational and Information Systems Laboratory.

The budget is $25 million to $35 million. IBM pitched a system with well-integrated processors that NCAR was confident would be delivered on time, Kamrath said.

“Making this kind of data-friendly, on the scale of operating on many petabytes of data, is key,” she said. She declined to name the other companies that tried to land the contract.

The Yellowstone machine will aid a wide range of research into weather, climate, oceanography, air pollution, space weather, computational science, energy production and carbon sequestration. The center also will store scientific data including historical climate records.

The supercomputer will be delivered around March to a purpose-built $70 million facility in a business park west of Cheyenne. The bulk of work on the building wrapped up last summer.

Assembly and testing of the supercomputer will take a couple months. Researchers who reserve time on the machine in advance will then be able to log onto it from all over the world.

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Posted by on Dec 1st, 2011 and filed under Techline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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