Where's My Supercomputer!?

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This is what the folks of Cheyenne, Wyoming have been asking the National Center for Atmospheric Research [NCAR] lately.  NCAR has long been planning and promising to build a new supercomputing facility in Cheyenne.  So what’s the holdup!?

NCAR is coming,” Business Council CEO Bob Jensen told Cheyenne business leaders at the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce’s annual Economic Reports Lunch. “It’s been caught up in a bureaucratic morass at the National Science Foundation but we’ve had continuous conversations with both the staff at NCAR and the staff at the National Science Foundation, and it is coming.”

According the the officials at NCAR, their $530 million project has been caught up in an internal “restructuring” effort within the Office of Cyberinfrastructure at the National Science Foundation.  This is shorthand for “Fun with Washington Bureaucracy.”

Why are the folks in Wyoming getting their feathers so ruffled?  Well, they’ve committed themselves to the tune of $47.4 million or 9 percent of the 20-year project cost of $530 million.  This includes a good chunk of land donated west of Cheyenne to construct the facility.  Moreover:

UW President Tom Buchanan said NCAR’s choice to partner with UW “will transform the University of Wyoming and we believe the state.”

NCAR is going to do this via a proposed system that is “two to five times larger than any existing computer in the world” according to NCAR Director Tim Killeen.  This equates to a system running at between 978 Tflops and 2.39 Pflops [based on today’s Top500].

For 2.3 Pflops, I would be a bit nervous too…

You can read more about the situation here.