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Wyoming Supercomputing Center

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Transition Costs Associated with the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputer Center (NWSC) Facility  (University Corporation For Atmospheric Res)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) is one of the world's most powerful supercomputers.

Managed by NSF's National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the supercomputer, known as "Yellowstone," has the ability to work at 1.5 petaflops--equal to 1.5 quadrillion (a million billion) mathematical operations per second. Its speed is comparable to 7 billion people (the world population) each simultaneously conducting 200,000 calculations a second.

Yellowstone's capabilities will improve scientific understanding of climate change, severe weather, air quality and other atmospheric and geosciences research. It allows researchers to address research challenges with software, data storage and management, and data analysis and visualization.

Based in Cheyenne, the NWSC is located on a 24-acre site. It houses high-performance computers, mass storage (data archival) systems, and required mechanical and electrical infrastructure. It is a LEED-certified building, showcasing sustainable technologies as well as energy-efficient design and operation. A main component is a public visitor center that illustrates the types of computational science research that will be carried out by scientists across the nation and explains the impact of that research.

The NWSC, funded by NSF with additional support from the state of Wyoming and a broad public-private consortium, will be a mainstay of U.S. geoscience computing for decades to come. Its extraordinary computing power will enable scientists to capture many aspects of our planet's workings in unprecedented detail. The results will improve forecasting of hurricanes, tornadoes, and other severe storms; map critical supplies of water; boost predictions of wildfire behavior; help protect society from solar disruptions; and address many other concerns.

Education & Outreach

The Visitor Center of the NWSC has available free, self-guided tours that offer an informative view of weather, climate, supercomputing and the broad spectrum of atmospheric research at this world-class science laboratory. Visitors can learn about current Earth science research spanning our planet's changing climate, the genesis of severe weather phenomena, computational science and one of the fastest supercomputers in existence today.

Field trips to the NWSC Facility are available to school, camp, club, and home school groups. Each exhibit incorporates hands-on science activities designed to meaningfully engage students in science learning.

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Images (1 of )

  • The building housing the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center
  • exhibit at NWSC visitor center
The building housing the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming, officially opened on October 15, 2012.
©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin
One of the stations at the visitor center will include activities for "young scientists."
©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin