NOAA to triple supercomputing capacity

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The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will triple supercomputing capacity for climate and weather forecasting.

Two Cray computers, an operational primary and backup, will be located in Manassas, Virginia, and Phoenix, Arizona.

Each computer will have 12 petaflops of capacity, and will be operational and ready to implement model upgrades by early 2022 after a period of code migration and testing.

They will replace the existing Cray and Dell systems, consisting of Luna and Mars in Reston, Virginia, and Surge and Venus in Orlando, Florida.

Neil Jacobs PhD, acting administrator of NOAA, said, “We are committed to put America back on top of international leadership with the best weather forecasts, powered by the fastest supercomputers and world-class weather models.”

Coupled with NOAA research and development supercomputers in West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Colorado, which have a combined capacity of 16 petaflops, the supercomputing capacity supporting NOAA’s predictions and research will be 40 petaflops.

Increased high-performance computing will triple capacity and double storage and interconnect speed, allowing NOAA to improve forecast model guidance.

The new computers will provide operational capacity for research and development under NOAA’s Earth Prediction Innovation Center (EPIC).

Jacobs said, “NOAA is excited for the incredible opportunity ahead to partner with university and industry scientists and engineers to advance US numerical weather prediction, and this supercomputer upgrade lays the foundation for that to happen.”

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