CRI Cray Y-MP2 - Castle
The Cray Y-MP2 arrived at NCAR in June 1991. Following an NCAR tradition of naming computers for the highest peaks in the Colorado Rockies, it was dubbed “Castle” after the 14,265-foot Castle Peak.
Castle was the first supercomputer in North America dedicated totally to climate simulation. It was funded by the Model Evaluation Consortium for Climate Assessment (MECCA), a numerical laboratory hosted by NCAR’s Scientific Computing Division (SCD) and devoted to modeling climate change due to greenhouse gases.
MECCA was established in 1990 by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), headquartered in Palo Alto, California. UCAR, EPRI, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) were joined in an expanded Accelerated Computing Environment (ACE) initiative by other organizations from government, industry, and academia, representing U.S., Dutch, French, Italian, and Japanese interests.
Five days after Castle came online, it was running at more than 90% capacity. For NCAR, the new Y-MP meant twice the computing power available for climate research. For scientists around the world, it meant getting model results in months instead of years.
Castle had two central processing units, 16 million 64-bit words (128 megabytes) of central memory, and an integrated solid-state drive with 128 megabytes of fast-access memory. It also had an input/output subsystem, a separate computer that handled all the input and output data and connected the Y-MP2 to Cray disk storage units, other computers, networks, and the SCD Mass Storage System. Castle ran Cray's UNICOS operating system.
From July 1991 through December 1993, SCD made 43,248 Y-MP CPU hours available to MECCA (98.7% of system availability). These projects generated and archived about 5.5 terabytes of model output, accessed more than 40,000 files from Mass Storage System, and generated over 100 animations via the SCD Visualization Laboratory.
MECCA funded Castle through December 1993, and SCD ran the system until September 1, 1994.