The NWSC takes shape

Construction of the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) is now more than 50% complete, with contractors currently working extensively inside the facility on the installation of complex mechanical and electrical systems and other construction tasks.

“We’re very pleased with our progress to date,” says Krista Laursen, project director. “Construction is proceeding on schedule and we are on target for construction to be completed by the end of 2011.  This will enable official research operations to start in spring 2012.”

NCAR has also started the procurement process for the center’s supercomputer.

“Acquiring a supercomputer is a reasonably lengthy undertaking that can often take more than a year,” says Anke Kamrath, CISL operations manager. “This level of supercomputing is a highly specialized area, given the research requirements for such machines. We’re in the ‘silent period’ of the competitive process right now as we start to review proposals, so we are bound by confidentiality.”

She added that NCAR expects to announce the successful vendor in the fall.

When it opens its doors, the NWSC is projected to be approximately 90% more energy efficient than typical supercomputing centers. NCAR is also pursuing LEED Gold certification for the facility, a recognized standard for measuring building sustainability.

Construction on the $70 million facility began in June 2010. Approximately 20 technical and support staff are expected to be on site at the NWSC at any given time once it opens. Most researchers will interact with the center remotely, via the Internet.

See the construction photo gallery.