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Opening and Dedication of NWSC Supercomputing Facility Scheduled Oct. 15


October 2, 2012 — A celebration is scheduled Monday, Oct. 15.

That’s when the long-anticipated NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center is unveiled during a ceremonial opening dedication in the North Range Business Park in Cheyenne. The invitation-only event begins at 10 a.m.

NWSC will open for one-time special public tours starting Tuesday, Oct. 16, noon-4 p.m.; and again, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17. Thereafter, self-guided tours of the visitor center will be offered 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays. Larger groups are asked to call ahead at (307) 996-4321 to make reservations.

In addition to a look inside the building that houses one of the nation’s newest supercomputers, a visit to the NWSC provides an opportunity to learn more about the atmospheric and computational sciences through the visitor center’s interactive components. The visitor center offers a view into the types of computational science research that will be carried out by scientists across the nation. Once inside, visitors will receive a front-row seat to the supercomputer known as “Yellowstone,” which operates so fast that it computes at a speed equivalent to 7 billion people each simultaneously conducting 200,000 calculations a second.

“The opening of the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center is a transformative moment for the University of Wyoming and the state,” says Bill Gern, UW’s vice president for research and economic development. “It opens a new era of scientific research and economic development that will put Wyoming at the forefront of innovation and discovery.”

“Yellowstone and the research done on it will help society in terms of better weather forecasting, understanding severe storms, wildfire behavior and event actions of the earth beneath our feet such as earthquakes and the movement of water,” says Tom Bogdan, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). “We are now poised at the beginning of a long line of new discoveries, powered by this incredible instrument made possible by so many dedicated people.”

The facility has achieved the certification of LEED Gold status. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized rating system for green buildings, which was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council for evaluating environmentally sustainable construction. Both the building design and its location take advantage of Wyoming’s unique weather to provide much of the center’s cooling needs through incredibly effective, passive systems.

The Oct. 15 dedication provides an opportunity for those who made the center a reality to officially declare it open. Representatives from UW, officials from the National Center for Atmospheric Science (NCAR), UCAR, the National Science Foundation, state of Wyoming, the Wyoming Business Council, Cheyenne LEADS and Cheyenne Light, Fuel & Power Co. will attend. Gov. Matt Mead will provide a dedication address. The governor will be joined by NSF Director Subra Suresh, NCAR Director Roger Wakimoto, Bogdan and Gern.

The NWSC will contain one of the world's most powerful supercomputers (1.5 petaflops, which is equal to 1.5 quadrillion mathematical operations per second) dedicated to improving scientific understanding of climate change, severe weather, air quality and other vital atmospheric science and geo-science topics. The center also will house a premier data storage (11 petabytes) and archival facility that holds historical climate records and other information.

The National Science Foundation has chosen seven University of Wyoming research projects -- ranging from hydrology of the Colorado River Basin to planet formation from star debris to fluid dynamics of wind turbines -- that will use the NWSC this fall. For more information, go here.

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