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NCAR Supercomputer

The NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center is shown in Cheyenne. The facility is now home to the world’s 20th-fastest super computer, which shares the name of the city where it’s located.

One of the world’s most powerful supercomputers sprang into action last month in Wyoming’s capital city.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research launched the machine, named Cheyenne, to help researchers better understand the world we live in, according to a news release. Scientists across the nation will use Cheyenne — currently the world’s 20th-fastest supercomputer — to study a range of topics, from wildfires and earthquakes to wind.

Leaders hope the results of that research will lead to improvements in natural disaster protection and anticipation as well as strengthen long- and short-term weather and water forecasts. That could be good news for businesses and economic sectors that depend on that information, such as agriculture, energy, transportation and tourism.

“Cheyenne will help us advance the knowledge needed for saving lives, protecting property, and enabling U.S. businesses to better compete in the global marketplace,” Antonio J. Busalacchi, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, said in the release. “This system is turbocharging our science.”

Some of the topics researchers hope to tackle using the machine include forecasting of long-range weather patterns, wind energy, space weather, extreme weather, climate engineering and smoke and the global climate, the release said.

Cheyenne, the fastest supercomputer in the Mountain West, can handle more than three times the amount of scientific computing that its predecessor, Yellowstone, could do, according to the release, and is three times more energy-efficient as well. It lives in the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center, which opened in 2012. Since then, more than 2,200 scientists from more than 300 universities and labs have harnessed its power.

The supercomputer was named to thank the people of Cheyenne for their support of the center as well as to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Wyoming’s capital city, which was founded in 1867.

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