ESRL Global Systems Division

New NOAA Supercomputer Goes Operational

Wednesday, February 1, 2012, 12:00pm Mountain Time, marked the start of operations of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) new research and development supercomputer, known as Zeus, located at NOAA's Environmental Security Computing Center (NESCC) in Fairmont, West Virginia. Silicon Graphics International (SGI) had announced in July of 2011 that a new SGI high performance computing (HPC) system had been selected by NOAA through Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) to meet NOAA's research requirements. CSC is a global leader in providing technology-enabled business solutions and services. Headquartered in Falls Church, Va., CSC has approximately 91,000 employees. SGI, a trusted leader in technical computing, is focused on helping customers solve their most demanding business and technology challenges.

Zeus consists of a 36-rack SGI® Altix® ICE 8400 enhanced hypercube supercomputer cluster containing 27,648 cores of the 3.46GHz Intel Xeon® 5690 ("Westmere") processor, with 5.6PB of storage capacity. Altix ICE is an HPC-optimized server design with integrated InfiniBand® switch blades for highest throughput, performance, and reliability. The open architectural design of the Altix ICE system enables the utilization of the most current standard components, such as x86 processors, InfiniBand, Ethernet, and off-the-shelf Linux operating system. As a result, the system runs all x86-certified applications without any changes or the need for a compatibility layer.

The Earth System Research Laboratory's Global Systems Division (ESRL/GSD), a part of NOAA's Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) arm, in close collaboration with NOAA's National Weather Service - National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NWS/NCEP), OAR's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, and NOAA's Office of the Chief Information Officer, was an important contributor to the design, procurement, installation, and acceptance of Zeus. ESRL/GSD IT management and staff will continue to provide engineering and monitoring support for Zeus during operations.

NOAA/OAR's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. "NOAA provides science-based information about our environment to help people make informed decisions in their lives, businesses, and communities," said former SGI CEO Mark J. Barrenechea. "SGI is proud to support CSC and NOAA to enable their mission with the most advanced supercomputer technology available today."

Contact information
Name: Scott Nahman
Tel: 303-497-5349
scott.nahman@noaa.gov