This is not your average desktop. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is now using one of the top 20 supercomputers in the world. The 1,500 teraflops IBM system, named Yellowstone, is 30 times faster than their existing 77 teraflop supercomputer. The NCAR supercomputer is capable of 1.5 quadrillion calculations per second. To put it in a little better perspective, many of us have a quad-core computer at home. This supercomputer has 72,288 Intel Xeon cores!
Scientists that will be using the supercomputer for research say one of the biggest benefits of Yellowstone is the ability to run simulations at a much higher resolution than with the previous hardware. Theoretically, that will lead to more accurate simulations of climate change, severe weather, air quality, and more geo-scientific research. Ultimately, the question will be does more horsepower lead to better computer modeling of the atmosphere? At a cost of $25-$35 million for Yellowstone, we sure hope the answer is yes!
Yellowstone is housed, appropriately enough, in a new $70 million data center at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center in Cheyenne, WY.