Advance Earth system science through HPC and data services

CISL is dedicated to providing advanced research cyberinfrastructure to promote world-class science. To that end, CISL maintains a portfolio of world-class computing and data services tailored to the atmospheric, geospace, and related sciences. To support these services, CISL also operates a range of networking and enterprise IT services and maintains two data center facilities. CISL services continually evolve in response to changes in computational technology, the needs of the scientific community, the lab’s own research and development activities, and interactions with the wider cyberinfrastructure community.

More than 1,800 users at more than 300 universities and other institutions benefited from the use of CISL’s cyberinfrastructure and services in FY2019. More than 680 new users joined the CISL computing community, which spans 17 areas of interest in the atmospheric and related sciences. The Cheyenne high-performance computing system served up over 972 million CPU hours in executing more than 6.28 million jobs during the fiscal year. NCAR’s new Casper system for data analysis, visualization, and machine learning (ML) – which CISL released to users in October 2018 – delivered 2.3 million CPU hours as users ran 1.3 million jobs.

CISL curates, manages, and archives a rich, growing set of digital collections and data services to which it provides free and open access. The Research Data Archive, for example, provided access in FY2019 to more than 5.1 PB of data to 15,000 individuals through the NCAR High-Performance Storage System, the internet, GridFTP servers, and one-time special requests.

Also in FY2019, CISL upgraded its VisLab to replace decade-old equipment and bring the high-profile space up to date. A new tiled-screen, high-resolution video wall now supports the display of most modern data sets at full data resolution, a 12x increase in resolution over the previous display. It typically supports 2,000 to 3,000 users and visitors per year. 

As an integral part of the regional, national, and international cyberinfrastructure ecosystem, CISL remains actively connected to and involved in a wide range of programs and activities. These include NSF’s Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), the Pacific Research Platform (PRP), the Rocky Mountain Advanced Computing Consortium (RMACC), the Front Range GigaPoP (FRGP), and The Quilt, a national coalition of non-profit U.S. regional research and education networks. 

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