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NCAR News Release
2002-22 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 15, 2002

NCAR Supercomputer Joins Top 10 of World's Fastest

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David Hosansky
UCAR Communications
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E-mail: hosansky@ucar.edu

BOULDER—The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has jumped into the top 10 elite of the world's fastest supercomputing centers, according to an annual ranking released on November 15.

NCAR advanced from 11th place in 2001 to 10th place in this year's list by acquiring Blue Sky, an IBM SP system with a peak speed up to seven trillion calculations per second. The IBM package also includes 21 terabytes of new disk storage. NCAR is currently testing the system, which arrived from IBM in September.

Blue Sky is expected to accelerate research in global and regional climate change, droughts, short- and long-range weather prediction and warnings, wildland fires, turbulence, atmospheric chemistry, space weather, and other critical areas. The National Science Foundation, NCAR's primary sponsor, purchased the machine for use at NCAR to advance a wide range of research topics in the agency's 10-year plan for the geosciences.

Experts at the University of Mannheim (Germany), the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the University of Tennessee announced the world's 500 most powerful computers. They have compiled and maintained the list twice a year since 1993, with the help of high-performance computer experts, computational scientists, manufacturers, and the Internet community in general.

NCAR director Tim Killeen says, "Blue Sky will help provide U.S. scientists with speed, efficiency, and data storage space they need to stay at the forefront of climate, weather, and many other essential areas of research."

In the fall of 2003, NCAR will receive IBM’s next round of switch technology, whose lower latency and higher bandwidth will significantly increase signal speed.

Earth’s weather and climate result from a complex interplay of physical, chemical, and biological processes of the atmosphere, oceans, land surface, and sea ice. Understanding and predicting Earth's climate system, particularly climate variation and possible human-induced climate change, presents one of the most difficult challenges in science. As computer models of the global climate system become increasingly sophisticated, says Killeen, supercomputers must continually stretch their limits to meet the needs of the scientific community.

Japan's Earth Simulator, in Yokohama, was named the world's fastest supercomputer.

NCAR is managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of 66 universities offering Ph.D.s in atmospheric and related sciences.

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NCAR's Blue Sky, with peak speed up to seven trillion calculations per second, is the 10th fastest supercomputer in the world.

On the Web:

Top 500 Supercomputer sites

-The End-

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The National Center for Atmospheric Research and UCAR Office of Programs are operated by UCAR under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation and other agencies. Opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any of UCAR's sponsors. UCAR is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

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