Message from CISL Director Al Kellie
CISL Director Al Kellie
CISL's top FY2012 accomplishment is the inauguration of the supercomputer dedicated to Earth System sciences at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC). This is the eighth year that laboratory staff have devoted to realizing this achievement. CISL fully deployed Yellowstone, a 1.5-petaflops supercomputing environment integrated with a centralized file system, massive data storage resources, and two data analysis and visualization systems by the end of FY2102. As a discipline-specific computing laboratory, CISL provides the capabilities and targeted user services required to support important computational and field campaigns with on-demand resources that include those driven by unfolding natural events. CISL’s commitment to a data-intensive computing strategy also includes a full suite of community data services and science gateways.
CISL's top imperative is to provide world-class computing facilities for its user communities. In FY2012, the NWSC facility received its first full complement of Information Technology (IT) equipment, staff, and visitor exhibits. For decades to come, NWSC will be home to many generations of supercomputing systems.>
CISL has transitioned supercomputing operations to the NWSC in Cheyenne, Wyoming from the Mesa Lab Computing Facility (MLCF) in Boulder, Colorado. The MLCF is completing its 47-year run as NCAR's community supercomputing center, and it is now being repurposed to house NCAR's and UCAR's divisional-class and enterprise-class IT equipment. MLCF will continue providing significant value to Earth System researchers for decades into the future.
CISL also continues to focus on science and education, its other two strategic missions. A long-running science program in IMAGe, the Data Assimilation Research Testbed (DART), received the 2012 UCAR/NCAR Outstanding Performance Award for Scientific and/or Technical Advancement, and a CISL education program in its Technology Development Division (TDD) received the 2012 UCAR/NCAR 2012 Outstanding Performance Award for Education and Outreach. That education program is the long-running series of national and international NCAR Command Language (NCL) training workshops. These two awards recognize CISL's commitment to elevate not only the technology, but also the science and the people of our research community.
Data assimilation, the process of combining observations with models, is providing rapid advances in geophysical studies, and CISL scientists in IMAGe perform fundamental research on ensemble data assimilation methods for a wide range of geophysical problems. During FY2012, the DART program advanced a broad range of collaborative simulation and observation projects with university and NCAR scientists. In addition, the DART software fully incorporated more than a dozen major geophysical models, including nearly all NCAR community models. The UCAR/NCAR award recognized the team of Jeff Anderson, Nancy Collins, Tim Hoar, Hui Liu, Kevin Raeder (all from CISL/IMAGe), and Glen Romine (NESL/MMM) for their years of transformative impact on the Earth System sciences. DART is being used at 48 UCAR member universities and 360 other organizations, and it contributes to dozens of research papers being published every year.
CISL’s NCL training workshops are a premier example of outreach to a wide range of universities and other centers. Analyzing large, complex data is a rapidly growing challenge in our community. CISL's unique NCL training program helps researchers become proficient using CISL’s NCL toolkit designed specifically for scientific data processing and visualization. The free NCL workshops directly target each student's needs because they analyze and visualize their own datasets. The instructors work with students individually during the labs, and by the end of each 3-1/2-day workshop, most students develop nearly complete NCL programs that produce meaningful results from their own data. Further, the NCL workshops also train students in the fundamentals of scientific data analysis and visualization for the Earth System sciences, along with instruction in general programming. For their 12 years of education services, the team of Mary Haley, Dave Brown (both from CISL/TDD), and Dennis Shea (NESL/CGD) received the 2012 UCAR/NCAR education and outreach award. This dedicated team of engineer- and scientist-educators has trained 915 students at a total of 61 local, national, and international NCL workshops.
This annual report offers many more highlights of the breadth and excellence of CISL's programs. CISL provides far more than balanced, easy-to-use computational and data environments designed for the requirements of the Earth System sciences. CISL also develops and delivers high-quality science and education programs to strengthen NCAR's leadership position at the intersection of large computational resources, large data sets, and community needs. As we envision the future of our science, we now begin looking beyond the horizon of the NWSC achievement to ready ourselves, NCAR, and the communities we serve for the challenges ahead.
As you read this report, I hope you share our excitement about the past year's significant progress. It is my pleasure to present our FY2012 CISL Annual Report.