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UW Faculty Have Until Dec. 30 to Apply for Supercomputer Use

December 11, 2015
front view of supercomputer
UW faculty members have until Wednesday, Dec. 30, to submit their applications for the latest round of core-hour allocations on Yellowstone, the nickname for the NWSC supercomputer. (UW Photo)

University of Wyoming faculty members interested in using the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) in Cheyenne for their computational research have until Wednesday, Dec. 30, to submit applications to request large core-hour allocations on the powerful machine.

Any request for more than 200,000 core hours is considered a large request. UW’s share of the NWSC resource is 75 million core hours. One core hour is the equivalent of running one application on a single computer for one hour. Last year, there were 25 active UW projects on the NWSC, says Bryan Shader, UW’s special assistant to the vice president for research and economic development, and a mathematics professor.

“This level of usage ranked Wyoming as No. 1 in total allocations and usage, and No. 4 in active projects of the NWSC among universities,” says Shader, who also serves as co-chair of the Wyoming-NCAR Alliance Resource Allocations Panel (WRAP), a group that evaluates requests for large allocations on Yellowstone, the nickname for the Cheyenne supercomputer.

Applications and allocation information can be accessed at The research must lie in earth system science or atmospheric science. A list of eligible science areas is available at A PowerPoint presentation that offers suggestions on how to write a competitive proposal can be found at

In addition to core hours, Wyoming’s share of the NWSC resources is around 800 terabytes of high-performance storage and 5 petabytes of long-term tape storage.

Successful allocation requests include benchmarking studies on a smaller scale and on a smaller computer. These benchmark studies can be performed using Mount Moran, the nickname for UW’s Advanced Research Computing Center (ARCC).

“We’ve been averaging about five or six granted applications per round. But, we do have some new computational researchers on campus,” Shader says. “It depends on how many applications are submitted and deemed worthy.”

The NWSC is the result of a partnership among the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), the operating entity for NCAR; UW; the state of Wyoming; Cheyenne LEADS; the Wyoming Business Council; and Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power. The NWSC is operated by NCAR under sponsorship of the National Science Foundation.

The NWSC contains 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 geoscience topics. The center also houses a premier data storage (16 petabytes) and archival facility that holds historical climate records and other information.

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