With both of us working from home and spending the cold nights on the warm couch, a weekend road trip to Cheyenne sounded like a brilliant change of pace. Because we only know how to do awesome things, we began with a visit to the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center.
NWSC explains its job better than I can:
The NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) provides advanced computing services to scientists studying a broad range of disciplines, including weather, climate, oceanography, air pollution, space weather, computational science, energy production, and carbon sequestration. It also houses a landmark data storage and archival facility that will hold, among other scientific data, unique historical climate records.
It’s essentially an enormous, state-of-the-art data center. The scientists who actually use the data are located in Boulder, CO.
On weekends the NWSC facilities are closed to the public, but they keep a Visitors Center open with gads of video footage and demonstrations. One video claims that the supercomputing process at NWSC are more complex than the space shuttle.
Upon installation, the NWSC supercomputer, which is named Yellowstone, is expected to rank among the world’s top 25 for speed, but the rankings of supercomputers are constantly changing as ever-faster machines are developed. Yellowstone is a 1.5 petaflops supercomputer, which means it can perform 1.5 quadrillion operations per second.