Advance Earth System science through HPC and data services

Computing is a foundational element of scientific research, and CISL provides a portfolio of advanced computing and data services specifically tailored for the atmospheric, geospace, and related sciences communities. At its core, CISL is a laboratory dedicated to providing advanced cyberinfrastructure to advance world-class science.

CISL curates, manages, and archives a rich, growing set of digital collections to which it provides free and open access, and that attracted more than 13,000 individual researchers who downloaded 2 petabytes of data through various pathways. Moreover, CISL creates essential, widely used software such as visualization and analysis tools; creates frameworks for implementing parallel modeling workflows; creates and operates science gateways; provides user support and training for all of these services; and integrates its resources and services with regional, national, and international cyberinfrastructure.

CISL services evolve in response to changes in the underlying computational technologies and the scientific demands of the community, informed by the research and development activities performed under CISL Strategic Goal 2, to “enhance the effective use of current and future computational systems by improving mathematical and computational methods for Earth System models and related observations.

CISL provides world-class supercomputing and data services to its user community. From CISL’s services and support web pages, users can access CISL’s help desk and consulting services, as well as complete information about HPC systems, storage systems, data analysis and visualization systems, data collections, user documentation, and training. The quality of these services is and will remain a core value of the laboratory. However, the makeup of these services is not static: they continually change in concert with rapid changes in the underlying technologies and the scientific demands of our users:

  • CISL maintains and operates the physical facilities and cyberinfrastructure needed to support the atmospheric and related sciences.

  • A rich set of data collections is curated, managed, and archived for free and open access.

  • CISL creates essential, widely used software cyberinfrastructure such as data analysis and visualization tools and frameworks for modeling and science gateway construction.

  • User support and training are provided for all of these services.

  • All of these resources and services are integrated with regional and national cyberinfrastructure and services, and with the organizations that maintain them, such as the Front Range GigaPoP (FRGP), the Rocky Mountain Advanced Computing Consortium (RMACC), and NSF’s eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE).

In FY2017 CISL installed the 5.34-petaflops supercomputer named Cheyenne and a 40-petabyte increment to the GLADE shared parallel file system that more than doubled the aggregate I/O bandwidth of NCAR’s central disk storage system known as GLobally Accessible Data Environment (GLADE). These resources began user production in January 2017. CISL also continued to operate the 1.5-petaflops Yellowstone supercomputing environment at the NWSC, including the supercomputer, GLADE, two data analysis and visualization systems, the HPSS data archive, high-speed wide-area networking, and high-performance data transfer and sharing services. A wide range of computing projects pursued the research frontiers of weather phenomena, climate change, space weather, solar physics, and more.

CISL’s software CI capabilities continued to make important progress in FY2017, and overviews of these advances are provided in the sections below.

This work is supported by NSF Core funding and other sources as specified in the following sections.