NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center

The NWSC entered its third full year of production in FY2015. The NWSC is designed to meet the rapidly growing high-performance computing (HPC) needs of Earth System scientists and to encourage broader participation in this scientific enterprise. Earth System scientists need petascale computing, data analysis, and visualization resources combined with exascale data management capabilities to support greater model resolution, increased model complexity, better statistics, more predictive power, and longer simulation times. The NWSC has been designed and built with a focus on sustainability and energy efficiency consistent with NCAR’s and the University of Wyoming’s strong commitment to environmental stewardship.

The NWSC is fully aligned with NSF’s vision for 21st-century cyberinfrastructure and directly contributes to the creation of a national petascale computing capability. The facility is a peer with other NSF facilities and serves as a “stepping stone” for Earth System science investigators to fully utilize the largest systems available, such as NCSA’s Blue Waters. CISL’s first strategic imperative is to provide HPC facilities for the Earth System sciences: “A foundational element of CISL’s mission is to deploy and operate the physical and virtual computational facilities needed to support the science community. Essential to this mission is the design, construction, and operation of a new data center capable of meeting future scientific computing challenges in the atmospheric sciences.”

CISL continually optimizes and improves the efficiency and operability of the facility. This year CISL piloted an effort to monitor waste water output with the Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities (BOPU). Because much of the water loss for NWSC is evaporative, we minimize pressure on the water treatment facility and have reduced our waste water charges by ~60-75%.

The other major focus for the staff at NWSC has been preparation and planning for the next HPC system. Procurement efforts for design build services were nearly completed in FY2015. In addition, some modifications to security cameras, card readers, etc., were made to maintain physical access controls during construction. This minimizes opportunities for mistakes to impact the production computing environment by ensuring construction crews don’t have access to critical production areas.

The operational expenses for NWSC during FY2015 were met using NSF Core funds