New computer to aid climate change study

Oct. 16, 2012 at 5:23 PM

CHEYENNE, Wyo., Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Climate change researchers say their efforts are now being aided by one of the largest supercomputers on the planet, housed in a facility in Wyoming.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research has begun using an IBM system called Yellowstone that at 1.5 petaflops -- a petaflop is the ability of a computer to do 1 quadrillion floating point operations per second -- is among the top 20 supercomputers in the world, Computerworld reported Tuesday.

With Yellowstone, the NCAR said, it now has "the world's most powerful supercomputer dedicated to geosciences."

Installed at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center in Cheyenne, Yellowstone is 30 times as fast as NCAR's existing computer, researchers said.

Yellowstone will allow research into climate change, severe weather, oceanography, air quality, geomagnetic storms and earthquakes and tsunamis, they said.

A number of research projects will be given first crack at the $25 million machine "to try to do some breakthrough science straight away and try to shake the machine," Rich Loft, the director of technology development at the Cheyenne center, said.

"We want to see what happens when users beat on it instead of just doing acceptance testing," he said.

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