Computing Imperative: Hardware Cyberinfrastructure

CISL fulfills its computing imperative to provision computing, storage, data analysis, visualization, networking, and archival systems customized to support the atmospheric and related sciences by delivering robust and reliable resources and services in an end-to-end research environment. For over 1,300 users in a wide variety of disciplines, CISL provides:

  • High performance production computing
  • Data storage and archival environments
  • Local and wide-area network connectivity
  • Data analysis and visualization systems

CISL also actively participates in projects designed to provide advanced services and tools to enable Earth System science for a diverse community of users, including:

  • TeraGrid integration
  • Earth System Knowledge Environment
  • Experimental computing systems
NWSC construction
The NWSC facility construction progressed rapidly from groundbreaking in June to the installation of exterior precast walls in late September 2010. Shown in this photo from the construction site webcam on 28 September 2010, the steel joists in the foreground will be used in the data center area of the building.

The most notable events for CISL during FY2010 included the completion of the final design for, and the approval to begin construction of, the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Official groundbreaking took place on June 15, 2010, with a ceremony highlighted by statements from Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal, UCAR Director Rick Anthes, NCAR Director Roger Wakimoto, CISL Director Al Kellie, and officials from the University of Wyoming and the National Science Foundation. Through the summer, construction proceeded a rapid pace, with concrete foundations laid and steel superstructure assembled. At the end of FY2010, construction was ahead of schedule.

Planning continued during the year for the RFP specifications and processes that will lead to the acquisition of the HPC computing, data storage, and archival equipment to be installed within the NWSC during FY2012.

CISL added four important technologies to the NCAR computational environment in FY2010:

  • Acquisition of equipment for and the deployment of the GLobally Addressable Data Environment (GLADE).

  • Augmentation of the NCAR Mass Storage System (MSS) with additional storage capacity and capability.

  • Deployment of the High-Performance Storage System (HPSS) into a semi-production state and preparation for the transition of over 10 petabytes of data from the NCAR MSS into HPSS planned for FY2011.

  • Acquisition and deployment of an 8-TFLOPS Cray XT5 supercomputer system for testing and to augment existing computational resources.

CISL's main supercomputer, Bluefire, remained the primary production system for the Climate Simulation Laboratory (CSL) and the NCAR/UCAR user community. It has proven to be a reliable and efficient computational platform. During the year, several projects were provided the opportunity to study challenging problems through special computational campaigns on Bluefire.

CISL is committed to deploying and maintaining a highly productive, end-to-end computational environment, and during FY2011 CISL will again enhance the data analysis and visualization environment by deploying a centralized home file system capability. CISL will fully deploy HPSS in production, ingest all MSS data into HPSS, and decommission the NCAR MSS system after 25 years of service. In addition, CISL will complete the development of, release, evaluate, and award procurements for the acquisition of HPC, high-speed file systems, disk storage, and data archival equipment for the NWSC. Finally, and most importantly, CISL will complete the NWSC construction and begin facility commissioning.

NCAR's supercomputers are managed by CISL under the UCAR/NSF Cooperative Agreement and are supported by NSF Core funds including CSL funding.