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The supercomputer gives researchers new capabilities. They can run more experiments with increased complexity and at a higher resolution, according to interviews with researchers.
What this means is that scientists will be able to use the supercomputer to model the regional impacts of climate change. A model that is 100 km (62 miles) is considered coarse because the grid covers a large distance. But this new system may be able to reduce resolution to as much as 10 km (6.2 miles), giving scientists the ability to examine climate impacts in greater detail.
People "want to know what it (climate change) is going to do to precipitation in Spain or in Kansas," said Rich Loft, the director of technology development at the center.
Loft said they plan to give 11 research projects first crack at the machine "to try to do some breakthrough science straight away and try to shake the machine."
"We want to see what happens when users beat on it instead of just doing acceptance testing," said Loft.
Yellowstone is running in a new $70 million data center. The value of the supercomputer contract was put at $25 to $35 million. It has 100 racks, with 72,288 compute cores from Intel Sandy Bridge processors.