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NCAR Selects IBM Supercomputer

Blue Gene to boost climate, weather research

April 14, 2005

ARMONK, NY and BOULDER, CO—The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), in collaboration with the University of Colorado, has acquired an IBM Blue Gene supercomputer to simulate ocean, weather, and climate phenomena that impact agricultural output, heating oil prices and global warming.

The IBM eServer, Blue Gene, has a peak performance of 5.7 teraflops (TF), with a single full rack system. With a footprint of less than one square meter, the system delivers more than ten times the performance of other supercomputers now on the market while occupying less floor space. The National Science Foundation, NCAR's primary sponsor, provided funding for the purchase of 1024 Blue Gene compute nodes.

"Climate change research is one policy-relevant field driving a need for more powerful computers to process complicated models of the Earth system," says NCAR director Tim Killeen. "Improving weather forecasts, predicting toxic pollution flows, and space weather are other areas where faster, more efficient supercomputers like Blue Gene are essential for U.S. scientists to remain in the forefront of Earth science research."

Computer scientists Henry Tufo (left) and Richard Loft expect great things from the compact Blue Gene supercomputer. Tufo divides his time between the University of Colorado and NCAR's Scientific Computing Division. Loft heads NCAR's Computational Science Section within SCD. (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)

"For more than five years, IBM and NCAR have partnered to apply supercomputing power to NCAR's most demanding climate modeling challenges. We are pleased to announce this most recent addition to their computational stable," said Dave Turek, vice president, Deep Computing, IBM. "Insight gained from the use of the Blue Gene system will advance both the state of the art in geoscience modeling and, based on user feedback, in IBM's supercomputer design efforts for the future. NCAR is indeed a valued IBM customer."

NCAR's Blue Gene system will accelerate fundamental research in global climate change, weather prediction, wildfires, geoturbulence and other critical areas.

About IBM

IBM is the world's largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across IBM and key Business Partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that enable customers, large and small, to take full advantage of the new era of e-business. For more information about IBM, visit

About Power Architecture and

IBM develops and manufactures state-of-the-art semiconductor and interconnect technologies, including industry-leading Power Architecture microprocessors. In December of 2004, IBM and 14 companies announced the formation of, an open standards community dedicated to chips and systems that use Power Architecture technology. is a community dedicated to open hardware and collaborative innovation around the Power Architecture. The Power microprocessor is the heartbeat of devices and systems large and small, including the world's best-known electronics brands, IBM supercomputers, and the high-performance IBM eServer and TotalStorage systems.

About NCAR

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research under primary sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. The center conducts wide-ranging research in atmospheric chemistry, climate, weather, and solar-terrestrial interactions. It provides UCAR's 68 members and other affiliates with state-of-the-art instrumentation, aircraft, and computer technology to advance the study of Earth's atmosphere.


The following are either trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States or other countries or both: IBM, Blue Gene, eServer, Power Architecture, and TotalStorage. All others are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

 Related sites on the World Wide Web 

NCAR's Scientific Computing Division

NCAR's Scientific Computing Division researches ultimate algorithms, computer architecture:
HOMME and BlueGene/L offer tantalizing possibilities for the geosciences

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.

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