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UW Faculty Have Until May 22 to Apply for Supercomputer Use

May 4, 2016
rows of computer servers
UW faculty have until May 22 to submit their applications for the latest round of core-hour allocations on Yellowstone, the nickname for the NWSC supercomputer. (NCAR Photo)

University of Wyoming faculty members have the opportunity to apply for a large allocation to use computational and storage resources at the National Center for Atmospheric Science (NCAR)-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) in Cheyenne to support their research in earth systems and atmospheric sciences. Applications are due May 22.

Any request for more than 200,000 core hours is considered a large request. UW’s current share of the NWSC resource is 75 million core hours. This share of core hours will more than double next year. One core hour is the equivalent of running one application on a single computer for one hour. Since October, UW researchers have used 30.5 million core hours and, in February, six projects were allocated 42 million core hours, 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 top in total allocations and usage, top in total usage and third in active projects of the NWSC among the more than 100 universities with access to the NWSC,” 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 systems 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).

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 Black Hills Energy. The NWSC is operated by NCAR under sponsorship of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The NWSC contains Yellowstone, 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 houses a premier data storage (16 petabytes) and archival facility that holds historical climate records and other information.

The successor to Yellowstone, nicknamed Cheyenne, is a new 5.34-petaflops, high-performance computer being built for NCAR by Silicon Graphics International (SGI). The new supercomputer will be installed at the NWSC during the second half of 2016, and is scheduled to become operational at the beginning of 2017.

An SGI ICE XA Cluster, the Cheyenne supercomputer will feature 145,152 latest-generation Intel Xeon processor cores in 4,032 dual-socket nodes (36 cores/node) and 313 terabytes of total memory.

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