SCD News: September 3, 2005
Tom Engel, an SCD high-performance computing specialist, shakes hands with Tom Bettge, SCD deputy director, upon the recent acquisition of NCAR's newest supercomputer, “bluevista.” More
SCD and IBM are configuring bluevista.
The Scientific Computing Division, part of NCAR's Computational Science and Information Systems Laboratory, took delivery of a new IBM p5-575 supercomputer named "bluevista" on August 27, 2005. See the photo gallery
The new system, based on IBM's POWER5 processor and High-Performance Switch technology, will nearly double the number of computational cycles available to users.
IBM has installed the hardware and is currently installing system software. Once installation is complete, IBM will re-run benchmarks of NCAR's Community Atmosphere Model (CAM) and the Community Climate System Model's Parallel Ocean Program (POP) to ensure that bluevista meets performance specifications.
Formal acceptance testing by SCD is expected to begin in mid- to late September. Once bluevista has passed acceptance testing, it will be turned over to the Nested Regional Climate Model (NRCM) project for experimental research through the end of calendar year 2005. NRCM is a joint collaboration between NCAR's Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division and the Climate and Global Dynamics Division. Researchers see the project as an opportunity to make important advances in nested two-way climate and weather-prediction modeling.
SCD plans to make bluevista available for general use on January 1, 2006.
“When we make bluevista available to general users in January, the supercomputing capacity provided by NCAR/SCD will nearly double, instantaneously,” says Tom Bettge, SCD deputy director. “The number of sustained flops [floating-point operations per second] on our typical workload will go from 400 gigaflops to almost 800 gigaflops. That's the capacity increase. In terms of capability, a typical application should run twice as fast on bluevista as it does on bluesky, depending on the requirements of the application.”
Bluevista will significantly increase scientific productivity for the entire NCAR community over the next year, Tom notes.
Even as bluevista is introduced to the floor, SCD is working on plans for the next increase in NCAR's computing capacity. In cooperation with NCAR management and scientists, and the SCD and CSL Advisory Panels, SCD is developing a new Request for Proposal (RFP) for the competitive procurement of a new supercomputer system to be deployed in 2007. The new procurement is called the Integrated Computing Environment for Scientific Simulation (ICESS). SCD expects ICESS to provide four to six times the computing capacity of bluesky.
Bluevista delivery and installation photos:
Additional technical information on bluevista:
NCAR is operated by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) under the primary sponsorship of the National Science Foundation.
NCAR is managed by UCAR and sponsored by the National Science Foundation