The NCEP Power 5 to Power 6 supercomputer transtion: lessons learned

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Bradley S. Mabe, NOAA/NWS/NCEP, Camp Springs, MD; and S. E. Cokley, C. C. Magee, and X. Wang

Numerical weather model data produced by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) supercomputers provide critical guidance to weather forecasters. Consequently, the transition to more advanced supercomputing systems needs to be as seamless as possible. Approximately every three years, faster supercomputer systems are procured and implementations of model upgrades are temporarily halted while existing model code is ported to the new supercomputer platform.

This discussion will center on the preparation, planning, implementation, and technical aspects required for NCEP to make the transition from the IBM Power 5 to IBM Power 6 supercomputer platform. Discussed in detail will be the Production Management Branch's efforts to transition the operational model suite to a faster, architecturally larger supercomputer system; testing the existing code as well as newer versions of the operating system, scheduler, and other system-related componentry; and tuning the numerical models and ancillary support systems to provide consistent delivery time to users.