NOAA and ORNL in Cahoots

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] will provide $215 million to Oak Ridge National Laboratory [ORNL] over the next five years to help support climate research.  One of the main attractions of contracting ORNL to help with computational activities is their Cray XT5 behemoth, Jaguar.

NOAA’s investment is huge,” [Thomas] Zacharia said Monday, noting that the federal agency is one of the major players in climate change with “tremendous research capabilities.”

When you look at the investment by DOE and NSF and NOAA and NASA, it’s really bringing together an integrated capability,” making Oak Ridge a place for inter-agency projects, [Zacharia] said.

I would have to agree with Zacharia.  Considering the funding streams for many of the larger supercomputers in the United States, much of the money eminates from a similar source.  It makes reasonable sense to, in part, pool one’s resources.

Thankfully, the project is not relying wholly on computational horsepower.  The lab expects to hire somewhere between twenty five and fifty climate researchers as a part of the effort.  This is GREAT news.  ORNL has already hired two very prestigious climate modelers, Jim Hack from NCAR and David Bader from LLNL.  ORNL is quickly becoming the “DisneyWorld” of computational science.

Frankly, it’s very hard these days to assemble the kind of talent that we have assembled,” Zacharia said.

All in all, I think this will be a big win for both NOAA and ORNL.  It allows NOAA to further their research without extremely costly infrastructure upgrades and it puts real scientists to work.  For more info, read the full article here.