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UCAR Update

July 2006


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In brief
Invitation to high-performance computing workshop at NCAR
COSMIC Webcast among recent COMET releases
SCD invites large requests for computational resources
Reminders from last issue


Invitation to high-performance computing workshop at NCAR
NSF-funded scientists who have a significant high-performance computing element to their research may apply to participate in the NSF-sponsored High Performance Computing for Geosciences Research Workshop.   This event will be held at NCAR's Center Green Campus in Boulder on September 25-27.   

NCAR is currently engaged in planning a significant upgrade of its supercomputing capabilities and wants to ensure that its plans are closely aligned with NSF's overall cyberinfrastructure roadmap and other national strategies. The goal of the workshop is to provide the NSF's geosciences directorate with a compelling, community-supported plan for developing a petascale collaboratory for the geosciences. Key questions to be addressed during the workshop include

  • What is the best balance in the geosciences between capability (dedicated power for the largest problems) and capacity (clusters designed to solve many problems at once)?
  • What is the "sweet spot" for capability computing in the geosciences (the minimum affordable teraflops to address the largest problems)?
  • What research opportunities are being missed in the current computing climate?
  • How should a high-capability node be designed and optimized to support the geosciences community?
  • What governance, procurement, and allocation models make sense for the full geosciences community?

Attendance is limited. If you are interested in attending, please send an e-mail to In your message, please indicate your professional affiliation and your area of research and describe your NSF-funded research grants with high-performance computing components.

Contact: Krista Laursen, Office of the NCAR Director, 303-497-2003


COSMIC Webcast among recent COMET releases
UOP's Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training (COMET) has issued a number of new online materials in recent weeks. All are available through COMET's MetEd Web site or at the individual URLs below.

  • FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC: This 70-minute Webcast discusses radio occultation (RO) and the latest RO mission: Taiwan's Formosa Satellite Mission #3/Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere & Climate. Though designed for specialists, this Webcast will also be of interest to other users of atmospheric or ionospheric data.

  • WRF training: In response to the June implementations of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model at NCEP and the Air Force Weather Agency, COMET is providing a training series to help forecasters better understand the new model and its use. These Webcasts, available in 45-minute and 65-minute versions, explain the numerics, physics, and post-processed data of the North American Mesoscale (NAM) WRF, emphasizing what will be different and what will remain the same in the transition from the NAM Eta model.

  • Ensemble and marine model matrices: The Ensemble Model Matrix provides background on the configurations of NCEP's short- and medium-range ensemble forecasting systems. The Marine Wave Models Matrix describes several wave models used by forecasters, including how these models forecast the generation, propagation, and dissipation of ocean waves, and the products they provide.

  • Runoff Processes: This new module discusses the importance of forecasting runoff from rain and snow melt in flood prediction and hydrologic forecasting in general.
Contact: Hildy Kane, UOP/COMET, 303-497-8470


SCD invites large requests for computational resources
SCD invites university researchers with NSF awards to submit requests for projects needing more than 2000 general accountin units (GAUs) by 28 August. Allocations may be used on bluevista (an IBM Power 5 cluster with 576 batch processors), bluesky (an IBM Power 4 cluster with 1408 processors), and/or lightning (a 256-processor Linux cluster). Allocations are given for the life of the NSF project. Requests for 2000 GAUs or less can be submitted at any time.

The SCD Advisory Panel has increased the resources available to graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and new faculty. See the second URL below for more details.

Deadline: 28 August
Contact: Ginger Caldwell, NCAR/SCD, 303-497-1229
Request for large computing resources
Overview of allocation processes


Reminders from last issue

Schedule set for UCAR October meetings

Openings for hydrodynamic modelers
Review process begins: 1 August

Workshop on best practices at federally funded centers
Early registration deadline: 6 October


UCAR Update is e-mailed monthly to all UCAR member and affiliate representatives. Please forward to colleagues and students in your department or at other institutions.

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Questions or news tips: Bob Henson, 303-497-8605
Published by UCAR Communications

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