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NCAR Computer Modelers to Use Powerful New Linux System

June 23, 2004

BOULDER—Using funding provided by the National Science Foundation and as a result of an open bidding process, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) has purchased a large-scale, Linux-based computing system.

The new Linux system will allow the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s major community climate and weather codes to be built, tested, and evaluated in a full-scale Linux environment for the first time. The 1.1 TeraFLOP system, manufactured by IBM Corporation, will add significant computing capacity and capability to NCAR’s computing arsenal.

The system will allow NCAR’s major community modelers to build, test, and evaluate their codes in a production computing environment and on systems that are similar to those now available in the university community. NCAR’s Scientific Computing Division (SCD) will manage and operate the system and, in partnership with key NCAR climate and weather modelers, rigorously evaluate its suitability as an additional computing resource to be made available to the larger modeling community. SCD, in turn, will gain valuable insight into the management and operational issues associated with large Linux-based clusters in a production computing environment.

Bluesky computer

A new Linux-based computing system called Lightning is joining UCAR's fleet of supercomputers, which also includes Blue Sky, the IBM SP system shown here.

“As climate scientists strive to learn more about the Earth system, the complexity and computational requirements of the necessary numerical models increase significantly," said NCAR climate modeler William Collins, who is also chair of the CCSM Scientific Steering Committee. "This new Opteron-based Linux system will provide increased performance for the Community Climate System Model at a lower price than other supercomputers based on proprietary technology. We are also excited about using it to provide better support to university collaborators who might choose to deploy their own Linux clusters for climate simulation."

The new system is an IBM e1350 Linux Cluster that will be installed during the week of July 12, 2004. Named Lightning, it is comprised of a 128 dual-processor Opteron e325 batch system. It will initially be open for use by select modelers at NCAR, including NCAR’s Community Climate Simulation Model (CCSM) and Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF). Since many of these models are distributed to universities with Linux-based systems on their campuses, the testing and development of such models on a similar system at NCAR will greatly accelerate the transition of these major models into the community.

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The National Center for Atmospheric Research and UCAR Office of Programs are operated by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research 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

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