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NOAA high performance computer rated among Top 500 in the world
Monica Allen

NOAA high performance computer rated among Top 500 in the world

NOAA’s newest high performance computer used for research to advance weather, climate and ecosystem prediction was named number 88 among the top 500 high performance computers in the world based on computing capacity, according to

NOAA’s Hera supercomputer, which went online in November 2019 and was upgraded in February, has increased the computing capacity at NOAA’s facility in Fairmont, West Virginia, from approximately 2 petaflops to 5.3 petaflops.

“We are proud to have such capacity in West Virginia, which is certainly needed to contribute to the tools NOAA relies on to advance weather modeling, build ocean ecosystem forecasts, and sustain our world leadership in climate models,” said Craig McLean, NOAA assistant administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.

Hera is one of five research and development high performance computers NOAA and its cooperative institutes rely on to enable world class weather, climate and ecosystem research and modeling. The others are located in Boulder, Colorado; Princeton, New Jersey; Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and on the campus of Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi. The addition of Hera and recent upgrades to several of the other four high performance computers has enabled NOAA to more than double its research computing capacity over the last year from 8 petaflops to 17 petaflops.

"Hera adds needed capacity for NOAA science and furthers the importance of our West Virginia facility and partnership with the West Virginia High Technology Foundation," said Zachary Goldstein, NOAA Chief Information Officer and Director of High Performance Computing.

Made by HPE/Cray, Hera is a CS500 system supplying 63,840 processors.  The new system was integrated by General Dynamics Information Technology. GDIT provides technical, systems administration and user support for the NOAA HPC research and development computers.

“Each time an HPC system that GDIT supports debuts on the Top 500, we take pride that our architecting, integrating and implementation of the system has yielded the increase in compute power that will further our clients’ mission goals,” said Kevin Connell, GDIT vice president of Science and Engineering and executive sponsor of the company’s HPC Center of Excellence.

“This is particularly important in the case of NOAA’s Hera system because of the role it has in continuing to optimize computational weather forecasting codes that are so important to our daily lives.”

NOAA’s Research and Development HPC System provides computational resources to support advances in environmental modeling crucial for understanding critical earth system modeling issues. NOAA’s environmental modeling enterprise underpins most of NOAA’s products and services to the nation. Included are high performance computing systems, associated storage devices, advanced data communications, hardware and software engineering services, security, and necessary data center space.

For more information please contact Monica Allen, NOAA Communications, at or 202-379-6693.


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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.


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