The 2013 NOAA Operational Supercomputing System Transition

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015
Steven Earle, NOAA/NWS/NCEP, College Park, MD; and F. Fayton and J. Yang

Numerical weather prediction model data produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operational supercomputing system provide critical guidance to weather forecasters worldwide. Consequently, the transition to more advanced supercomputing systems needs to be as seamless as possible. Approximately every three years, more powerful supercomputer systems are procured and implementations of model upgrades are temporarily halted while existing model code is ported to the new supercomputer platform.

In 2013, the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) transitioned from the Central Computing System (IBM/Power 6/AIX) to the Weather and Climate Operational Supercomputing System (IBM/Intel/Linux). This discussion will center on the preparation, planning, implementation, and technical aspects which were required for NCEP to make this transition. Discussed in detail will be NCEP Central Operations (NCO)/Production Management Branch's efforts to transition the operational model suite to a faster, architecturally larger supercomputer system. This involved testing the existing code as well as a new operating system, scheduler, and workflow manager and tuning the numerical models and ancillary support systems to provide consistent delivery time to users.