Stay Connected

NOAA Research News

Mississippi State University to host supercomputer to power NOAA research
Monica Allen

Mississippi State University to host supercomputer to power NOAA research

New high performance computer rated fourth fastest for US academia

In mid-July, Mississippi State University will begin operating a NOAA-funded, newly installed high-performance computer (HPC) called Orion to support NOAA research and development in environmental, weather and climate modeling, and autonomous vehicle design and operation.

The new computer will also be used by research scientists and students working with NOAA, MSU and the Northern Gulf Institute, NOAA’s cooperative institute based at MSU that includes five other academic partners in Mississippi, Florida and Alabama.

NOAA provided MSU with grants totaling $22 million over the last two years to purchase, install and now run the new supercomputer. The Dell-EMC system will add 5 petaflops of computing capacity to NOAA’s existing research high performance computing capacity of 10.5 petaflops, currently operating at centers in Boulder, Colorado; Fairmont, West Virginia; Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and Princeton, New Jersey.

Supercomputer to advance weather, climate, ocean modeling

“We’re excited to support the development of this powerhouse of computing capacity at Mississippi State,” said Craig McLean, NOAA assistant administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. “Orion will join NOAA’s network of computer centers around the country, and boost NOAA’s ability to conduct cutting-edge research to advance weather, climate and ocean forecasting products vital to protecting American lives and property.”

Located in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park adjacent to the Starkville, Mississippi campus, Orion is MSU’s largest supercomputer. It is nearly 10 times faster than the previous computing system at MSU and is able to conduct 5 quadrillion calculations per second as compared to the 593 trillion calculations per second capability of the previous system.

Earlier this week, Orion was ranked the fourth fastest HPC system at a U.S. academic institution with an overall worldwide ranking of 62 for the world’s most powerful non-distributed computer systems by the Top500 Supercomputer Site list.

“Orion helps strengthen our historic ties to NOAA as host of a cooperative institute and builds upon the university’s pioneering work in high performance computing technologies used to solve real- world problems,” said Trey Breckenridge, director of high performance computing at Mississippi State’s High Performance Computing Collaboratory.

Orion has 72,000 processing cores and nearly 350 terabytes of Random Access Memory, or RAM. The new system takes up 28 computer cabinets, each the size of an industrial refrigerator.

“The partnership with MSU provides greater research opportunities with our collaborators, and provides millions of compute hours to enhance NOAA’s scientific research,” said Zach Goldstein, NOAA Chief Information Officer and Director of High Performance Computing and Communication.

For more information, please contact Monica Allen, NOAA Research Communications, at 301-734-1123 or by email at


Previous Article NOAA taps weather program leader to head NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Lab
Next Article NOAA-Funded Expedition Captures Rare Footage of Giant Squid in the Gulf of Mexico


Popular Research News

NOAA exploring impact of COVID-19 response on the environment

NOAA exploring impact of COVID-19 response on the environment Read more

NOAA has launched a wide-ranging research effort to investigate the impact of reduced vehicle traffic, air travel, shipping, manufacturing and other activities on Earth’s atmosphere and oceans due to the response to COVID-19.

Dangerous humid heat extremes occurring decades before expected

Dangerous humid heat extremes occurring decades before expected Read more

Climate models project that combinations of heat and humidity could reach deadly thresholds for anyone spending several hours outdoors by the end of the 21st century. However, new NOAA-supported research says these extremes are already happening — decades before anticipated — due to global warming to date.  

NOAA teams with United Nations to create locust-tracking application

NOAA teams with United Nations to create locust-tracking application Read more

NOAA’s powerful air quality model used to track pollution from wildfires, volcanoes and industrial accidents is now being used to help warn communities across Africa and Asia of what have been called the worst locust swarms in a quarter century. 

NOAA researchers model risk of Asian carp invasion in Lake Huron

NOAA researchers model risk of Asian carp invasion in Lake Huron Read more

New research by NOAA and partners finds that two species of invasive Asian carp -- the bighead carp and silver carp, collectively known as bigheaded carps -- could be capable of establishing populations in Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron and affecting the health of ecologically and economically important fish species such as yellow perch.


«May 2020»


Phone: 301-713-2458
Address: 1315 East-West Highway Silver Spring, MD 20910

Stay Connected


Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA Research" - provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. Working in partnership with other organizational units of the NOAA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. Our role is to provide unbiased science to better manage the environment, nationally, and globally.


Can't Find What You Need?
Send Feedback
Copyright 2018 by NOAA Terms Of Use Privacy Statement
Back To Top