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Ribbon-Cutting Celebration for Mount Moran Scheduled Nov. 9


October 31, 2012 — Almost three weeks ago, the National Center for Atmospheric Science (NCAR) unveiled “Yellowstone” during a ceremonial opening of the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) in Cheyenne. Now, it’s the University of Wyoming’s turn to celebrate Mount Moran.

UW’s Advanced Research Computing Center (ARCC), nicknamed “Mount Moran” after a mountain peak in western Wyoming’s Teton Range, will be introduced to the campus during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, Nov. 9, at 4:30 p.m., in the Information Technology Data Center.

UW President Tom Buchanan will cut the ribbon. UW vice presidents and the Board of Trustees have been invited to attend, and IBM plans to send a representative.

“We’ll have a couple of quick speeches, cut the ribbon and eat cake,” says Tim Kuhfuss, UW’s director of research support for information technology.

The high-performance computing center has drawn the interest of roughly 100 UW faculty and researchers to date, Kuhfuss says. During the week of Oct. 22-26, three researchers used Mount Moran during a free testing period on the machine. They are:

  • Dimitri Mavriplis, a UW professor of mechanical engineering, simulates the aerodynamics of aircraft wings, helicopter propellers and wind turbines on a computer. Mavriplis works with computational fluid dynamics (CFD), a branch of fluid mechanics that uses numerical methods and algorithms to analyze and solve fluid flow challenges. His scientific simulations and computer calculations will scale up for use on the NWSC this fall.
  • Courtenay Strong, a University of Utah professor of atmospheric sciences. Strong is helping UW researcher Fred Ogden map a model of the hydrology of the Colorado River Basin. A comprehensive model of the upper Colorado River Basin -- at a resolution 100 times higher than currently available -- will be created. This model will better enable policy and management decisions regarding water in the basin. The project, like Mavriplis’s, will make use of the NWSC.


Ogden says UW’s Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering recently added two new faculty  members -- Julian Zhu, an associate professor, and Noriaka Ohara, an assistant professor. Zhu, who was a project leader at the University of Nevada’s Desert Research Institute for eight years, simulates flow and transport of water, and dissolved constituents through soils and aquifers. Ohara, who came from the University of California-Davis, is a snow melt researcher who has conducted field experiments and developed computational models of snow melt. 

“We touted both Mount Moran and Yellowstone when recruiting both Zhu and Ohara,” Ogden says. “I cannot say if that was the deal-maker for successfully recruiting them. However, I know it played a part.”

  • Jeff Clune, a visiting scientist at Cornell University’s Department of Computer Science and Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, also used Mount Moran that week. Clune, who will become a UW faculty member in January 2013, specializes in evolutionary computation. He models life forms on computers and shows how they evolve over time, Kuhfuss says.


“He (Clune) said the resources here are exceptional,” Kuhfuss says.

The campus cluster will serve two purposes. One, it will enable atmospheric and earth sciences faculty -- who will be able to use the NWSC -- to learn what to expect with their software. The cluster provides opportunities for faculty to work out issues caused by scaling up parallel algorithms from tens or hundreds of processors to thousands of processors, before moving up to tens of thousands of processors on the NWSC supercomputer.

Two, the cluster will provide a research resource for UW research faculty -- such as bioinformaticists, social scientists, pure mathematicians and theoretical physicists  -- whose research doesn’t fall within the scope of the NWSC.

“Right now, a lot of this research is being conducted on slower clusters or work stations (on campus),” Kuhfuss says. “We’re finding out Mount Moran is really fast. It’s a lot quicker than we thought.”

Mavriplis already has his own cluster on campus and is eager to see if he can create a larger cluster with assistance from Mount Moran, Kuhfuss notes.

Kuhfuss expects Mount Moran to “go live” or be in production Nov. 1. It will take some time, but Kuhfuss expects ARCC to be a transformative resource for faculty research on campus and beyond.

“The transformation doesn’t happen until we put all of the user support in place for training,” Kuhfuss says. “We anticipate recruiting more faculty members here to use the facility.”

Photo:
Mount Moran, the centerpiece of UW’s Advanced Research Computing Center, will be celebrated with a ribbon-cutting event at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 9 in the IT Data Center.

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