New U.S. earth science supercomputer will be 100,000 times faster than a typical PC

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- One of the most powerful computers in the world dedicated to climate change, weather and other earth science research will be replaced in 2017 by an even faster machine, officials announced Monday.

See Full Article

The Yellowstone supercomputer in Wyoming currently ranks among the 60 fastest in the world. The new supercomputer, to be named Cheyenne, will be at least 2 1/2 times more powerful, the National Center for Atmospheric Research said.

Capable of 5.3 quadrillion calculations, or petaflops, per second, Cheyenne will be some 100,000 times faster than a typical home computer. The speed provides unprecedented detail in climate-change predictions, including regional modeling of effects, the centre said.

A more powerful computer will allow researchers to see results in higher resolution, like a higher density of pixels sharpens images on a television or a stronger telescope brings a greater number of far-off galaxies into focus, explained Rich Loft, the centre's director of technology.

Scientists since 2012 have been using the Yellowstone supercomputer near Cheyenne for a range of research that also includes modeling air pollution and ocean currents.

The atmospheric research centre plans to install Cheyenne later this year and put it to work early next year. Questions it might help answer include:

-- Is the California drought a fluke or due to global climate change?

-- Can scientists predict the intensity of solar flares -- streams of radiation released by the sun that can endanger satellites and astronauts -- during an upcoming solar cycle?

-- How might climate change increase the likelihood of drought and change the extent of arctic sea ice from decade to decade?

The Yellowstone computer, located in a business park west of Cheyenne, put Wyoming's capital on the map as a potential technology hub. Facilities including a huge Microsoft data centre have set up nearby since the centre opened.

The Cheyenne supercomputer will be about three times as efficient as Yellowstone, using 90 per cent as much electricity but taking up to a third as much space. The machine will be built by Milpitas, California-based Silicon Graphics International Corp.

The University Corp. for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of more than 100 North American universities and colleges, oversees the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Both organizations are based in Boulder, Colorado.


Latest Tech & Science News

  • Energy saving rules mean more net zero home builds, incentives to retrofit older homes

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The federal government wants existing homes to be more energy efficient and for developers to build more net zero homes. Very shortly the Liberal government is expected to introduce changes to the national building code that will require builders to include more net zero homes — buildings that produce as much energy as they use — in housing developments in the next 15 years. Source
  • Sunflower sea star nearly wiped out by virus in B.C., Washington waters: report

    Tech & Science CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- There was once a galaxy of sunflower sea stars in the Salish Sea off the B.C. and Washington state coasts, but a new study says the animal's near disappearance from the ocean floor should be of special concern. Source
  • Canadians now spending more on Internet access than on television

    Tech & Science Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA - Canadians spent more on Internet access than television services for the first time last year, according to a report by the CRTC. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said that in 2015 communications service industry revenues from Internet access were $9.8 billion, while subscription television services accounted for $8.9 billion. Source
  • Stop looking at your phone: Majority of Canadians support legislation to ban distracted walking

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A new poll suggests the majority of Canadians are in support of regulations to ban distracted walking. Market research company Insights West asked 1,013 people across the country if they would support or oppose legislation that would forbid the use of hand-held cellphones while walking in roadways such as intersections. Source
  • Robotics conference in Beijing highlights intelligent robots

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Air Date: Oct 26, 2016 12:59 PM ET Source
  • Amazon's Alexa voice assistant arrives on Fire tablets

    Tech & Science CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Amazon's Fire tablets are getting the Alexa voice assistant. The previously announced feature will start rolling out to customers Wednesday. It's meant to complement what users get on other Alexa devices, such as the Echo speaker. Source
  • Rehabilitated orangutans freed in Borneo as species dwindles

    Tech & Science CTV News
    KEHJE SEWEN FOREST, Indonesia -- Jamur didn't hesitate as the door of her temporary cramped quarters slid open. In less than a second, the stocky red-haired orangutan was savoring freedom for the first time in nearly two decades. Source
  • Muskrat Falls unrest simmered for years: a look back at methylmercury concerns

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Concerns over methylmercury contamination at Muskrat Falls boiled over this month, but tensions around the multi-billion dollar hydroelectric project in Labrador have been percolating for years. Protesters marched on the Muskrat Falls construction site twice this month — worried that impending flooding would result in dangerous levels of methylmercury in Lake Melville, and would contaminate fish, seal and seabirds downstream. Source
  • 'There's no way for you to know': Why so-called smart devices are putting us all at risk

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Last Friday's massive cyberattacks should serve as a "wake-up call" and a warning to consumers that smart devices designed to make our lives more convenient are also making us unsafe, security analysts warn. Source
  • Updates and fixes in store for iOS and Android

    Tech & Science CTV News
    A few weeks after launching the latest versions of their mobile operating systems iOS and Android, Apple and Google are both rolling out updates to fix bugs and bring new functions to the platforms. iOS 10.1 Source