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Science has relied for centuries on theories and experiments to explain how things work. Today, computing power is so essential to improving our understanding and broadening our knowledge of the world, that computation has joined theory and experiment as a third pillar of the scientific method.
Computers help us understand the processes that churn inside stars and thunderstorms, visualize future climate on Earth, and predict the paths of hurricanes—problems that could never have been tackled with a pencil and paper.
As computer models become more sophisticated, integrate more parts of the Earth system, and increase in resolution, they require more and more powerful machines.
The NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) is the result of a collaborative partnership that envisioned a world-class scientific supercomputing facility, dedicated to atmospheric and related science, that would break new ground on energy efficiency and sustainability, while remaining adaptable to the ever-changing landscape of high-performance computing.
The National Center for Atmospheric Research provides research, observing and computing facilities, and a variety of services for the atmospheric and related Earth sciences community.
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The NWSC is the result of a partnership between University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), the State of Wyoming, the University of Wyoming, Cheyenne LEADS, Wyoming Business Council, Cheyenne Light, Fuel & Power Company. The NWSC is operated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation.
Computer models work a little like following a recipe. For example, we take information—or data—about current weather conditions. Next, we add energy from the Sun, and we stir in the math that explains how the Sun’s energy causes the weather to change over time. The result is a model, and it can be used to predict what the weather will do next. This is known as a forecast.