NOAA Research Supercomputer Now the 8th Fastest Supercomputer in the World

A NOAA weather and climate research supercomputer, located in Boulder, Colo., advanced into the top 10 supercomputers in the world and was ranked as the eighth fastest supercomputer by TOP500.org.

The NOAA Forecast Systems Laboratory, one of the country’s leading weather technology laboratories, acquired the $17 million supercomputer—named “JET” because of its speed—in the spring of 2000. Since that time it has gone through two upgrades. The final upgrade was made November which more than doubled the capabilities of the supercomputer. The number of mathematical computations now exceeds more than 3 trillion per second.

“We are excited that NOAA’s FSL computer is a leader in cost effective computing,” said Alexander MacDonald, director of FSL. “We were able to save money on our high performance computing system by using a variety of innovative techniques and solutions to develop the system,” MacDonald said.

The supercomputing system was developed by HPTi of Arlington, Va., and uses some of the newest technology, such as Linux Clusters and off-the-shelf dual Intel processor compute nodes with an integrated Myricom interconnect assembled by Aspen Systems, Inc., of Wheat Ridge, Colo.

“This high performance computing system enables us to process the large amounts of data necessary when running ocean and weather forecast models,” MacDonald said. Having a larger, faster and massively parallel supercomputer also means that more scientists can run their models simultaneously on the computer.

Seven of the top ten supercomputers are located in the U.S. with one each in Japan, France and the United Kingdom.

TOP500 has been maintaining a list of the most powerful computer systems since 1993. In the current list, the top computers are ranked according to their performance on the LINPACK Benchmark.

Media Contact:
Barbara McGehan, NOAA Research, (303) 497-6288