NOAA awards high-performance computing contract

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration today awarded Raytheon Co. a contract today worth up to $368 million for high-performance computing resources to support advances in NOAA's environmental modeling capabilities.

For the first time, NOAA is procuring services for all its applied research and development high-performance computing requirements across the agency to achieve economies of scale but will provide flexibility in the resulting services. NOAA is an agency of the Commerce Department.

The contract with Raytheon Information Systems of Upper Marlboro, Md., consists of a three-year base period, a four-year option period and a one-year option to provide for contract transition. NOAA expects initial delivery of the distributed high-performance computing system in October. The total ceiling value of the contract inclusive of all options is $368 million.

'This holistic approach to our high-performance computing needs will ensure we have the tools available for all our scientists and provide those tools in a cost-effective manner,' said NOAA Administrator Conrad Lautenbacher, Jr.

NOAA will migrate the models developed on the system to operational weather and climate models to improve the nation's weather forecasts, including hurricane forecasts and severe weather forecasts, to improve seasonal drought forecasts and to reduce the uncertainties in long-range climate predictions.

Key components of NOAA's high-performance computing include:
  • Large-scale computing, data post-processing, analysis and visualization capabilities
  • A hierarchical storage management system to provide archiving capacity to meet the expected rates of data production on the high-performance computing system
  • Software for resource management, system administration and application development
  • Support services, including system administration, software engineering and system maintenance.


Earlier this week, Linux Networx of Salt Lake City announced that it will deliver a cluster-based supercomputer to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

The NASA Center for Computational Sciences will use that new system to study weather, astrophysical phenomena and other computationally demanding problems. The 128-node system will be able to execute 3.3 trillion floating-point operations per second. The system will use Intel dual-core Dempsey processors, Infiniband network interconnects and a 60 Terabyte storage system that uses the IBM General Parallel File System.

NASA contractor Computer Sciences Corp. of El Segundo, Calif., placed the order for the system, according to the Linux Networx. The company did not disclose the value of the contract, and NASA officials could not be reached for comment.

GCN staff writer Joab Jackson contributed to this story.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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