Daily Bulletin Archive

December 4, 2012

CISL is pleased to announce that all users now have access to the Yellowstone system starting Monday, November 26. Based on feedback from early users and after completing major system updates, we are making a portion of the system available to all users for porting, testing, and preparing for the transition from Bluefire while we continue to improve the Yellowstone user experience.

Initially, general users will have access to approximately 648 nodes (10,368 cores) and can only submit jobs to the *economy* queue. Once CISL and IBM have completed further evaluation of the overall system's stability and some planned performance tests, we will lift these restrictions.

During Yellowstone's first two months, most of the system will be dedicated to supporting the 11 Accelerated Scientific Discovery (ASD) projects [http://www2.ucar.edu/atmosnews/big-data/first-accelerated-scientific-discovery] as they tackle major challenges in the geosciences. However, approximately 4 percent of the system -- roughly equivalent to the computational capacity of Bluefire -- will be available for other users to port their codes and conduct testing and small-scale runs.

For Bluefire users, CISL has provided a transition guide that highlights some key differences you will encounter on Yellowstone [http://www2.cisl.ucar.edu/resources/yellowstone/transition] and a quick-start guide [http://www2.cisl.ucar.edu/resources/yellowstone/quick_start] as part of the system documentation. Due to the possible high volume of requests, users are strongly encouraged to consult the Yellowstone documentation prior to submitting help requests.

We emphasize that Yellowstone is still a work in progress, and CISL and IBM are continuing to refine the user environment, install additional software, and resolve system problems that cause jobs to fail. Furthermore, the Geyser and Caldera clusters do not yet have their full complement of analysis and visualization software installed.

If you have any problems with the system or a request for software be installed, please send help requests to cislhelp@ucar.edu. We are particularly interested in learning about any job failures you may experience; please include system error messages in your help request.

November 27, 2012

We are relaying the following message from the CESM team about user interest in the CCSM3 models ported to Yellowstone. Please respond to the email indicated below.

CESM users,

We are soliciting information on who is hoping to run CCSM3 on NCAR supercomputing resources in the future. If you have plans to do so, please send an email to Barbara Ballard (bballard@ucar.edu).

Note that under the current policy, support for the CCSM3 model version has expired. Your input on CCSM3 usage will inform the project on whether and with what priority a CCSM3 port to the new Yellowstone system might occur.


Marika Holland

November 26, 2012

Date: Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Time: 8:30am- 12:30pm
Location: San Francisco Marriott
Room: Nob Hill A
Cost: FREE (refreshments will be served)
Registration: NONE REQUIRED
Organizers: John Clyne, NCAR
Only a few years ago advanced scientific visualization techniques were largely limited to the realm of visualization experts, and employed primarily as a communication aid to illustrate complex phenomena. Thanks to the commoditization of computer graphics hardware, and the emergence of mature, user-friendly, domain-focused software packages, scientific visualization is increasingly becoming an indispensible tool used by resarchers in their day-to-day efforts to analyze data and extract new insights. This workshop will provide an overview of some of the open source software packages that are available, and most relevant, to researchers in the geo-sciences. Attendees can expect to gain a basic understanding of the capabilities of these powerful visual data analysis environments; learn which tools may be most appropriate for their own needs; and have an opportunity to talk with tool developers, on-hand for the workshop.
Visual Data Analysis Wiki

November 21, 2012

No Scheduled Downtime: Bluefire, HPSS, DAV, ML GLADE, Firefly, Lynx

November 20, 2012

Starting November 12, Bluefire will no longer be enforcing allocation usage limits or 30/90 usage thresholds. The LSF scheduler will accept all jobs submitted against an active project number.

CISL will continue to track usage for reporting purposes, and the LSF scheduler will continue to enforce its fair-share policies. Namely, the scheduler will maintain the defined balance among University, NCAR, and Climate Simulation Laboratory activity and will ensure that no individual user can monopolize the system.

The premium and lrg_premium queues have also been disabled.

The decommissioning date for Bluefire has not yet been set. We plan to operate the system until at least the end of the year.

November 12, 2012

NCL version 6.1.0 will be the default version on the DASG (mirage, etc) and CGD machines starting October 31, 2012.  This version will not be available on bluefire.

For information about what's new in this version, see:


If you have any questions or problems, or if you need to use an older version of NCL, send email to Mary Haley, haley@ucar.edu.

November 12, 2012

Rogue Wave Software is offering an expanded "TVExpress Program" to students, post-docs and faculty members. This program provides a personal license for students until graduation and a 6-month license to post-docs and faculty at no charge. The intent is to reduce the time spent debugging on HPC systems by introducing "Parallel Debugging" into the software development process earlier. This offer is not meant to replace the need to debug at scale on HPC systems. The "personal license" runs on individual multicore workstations, laptops, and PCs running Mac OS or Linux.

Students, post-docs and faculty interested in applying the TotalView Parallel Debugger on their personal Linux workstation or Mac should email Dennis Andrews, dennis.andrews@roguewave.com, for more information. Students should include "TVExpress Student Program" in the subject title. Post-docs and Faculty should include "TVExpress Academic Research Program" in the subject title.

October 29, 2012

Yellowstone, NWSC GLADE, Geyser/Caldera: Downtime extended through Friday p.m. (estimated)

No Scheduled Downtime: Bluefire, HPSS, ML GLADE, Firefly, Lynx, DAV

October 22, 2012

On Saturday, 20 October 2012, the NCAR/CISL Data Center will be shut down to facilitate preventive maintenance on select infrastructure support systems. This is the normal fall season downtime for this purpose. Please note that this activity is a complete shutdown scheduled from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Some computing systems, depending on their function will begin their shutdown Friday afternoon.

Most significantly, the Bluefire, Mirage/Storm, HPSS, and GLADE systems will be taken down starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, 19 October. Please make arrangements accordingly.

Due to network maintenance, the following services will experience outages of up to half an hour during the course of the day:

- Wireless networking

- VPN and dialup

- UCAS token authentication (CRYPTOCard, Yubikey)

- UCAS password access for web and mail servers


- UCAR mail servers

Once all maintenance work is completed, the systems will be brought back up in their order of dependency. CISL and Facilities Management & Sustainability maintain the 12-hour window to accomplish all tasks at hand.

Remember to shut down your office systems and/or work station at the Mesa Lab before leaving work on Friday, 19 October 2012.

If you have any questions or concerns please send a message to cislhelp@ucar.edu.

October 19, 2012

Work on Yellowstone has progressed to the point that we can provide reasonably solid schedules for access to Yellowstone and the decommissioning of Bluefire.

Yellowstone was officially accepted by CISL from IBM on September 30. An initial run of the High-Performance Linpack (HPL) benchmark shows that the system can sustain more than 1.2 petaflops.

IBM and CISL are continuing to work at addressing a number of issues to make the system production ready. Selected early users from the Accelerated Scientific Discovery (ASD) projects and NCAR were given access to Yellowstone on October 8. Their feedback and experiences are helping CISL and IBM improve the user experience in the next two weeks and prepare the system for the full user community.

Looking ahead, users should keep in mind the following key dates:

* October 22 (week of): ASD teams will officially begin their proposed activities.

* November 1: Access will be granted to the full user community. Keep in mind that ASD teams will have priority in the queues for the first two months.

* December 31: At the present time, we anticipate keeping Bluefire running through the end of the calendar year.

* Early 2013: Following the decommissioning of Bluefire, the Mirage cluster and GLADE disk system at the Mesa Lab will remain available for a short period so users can migrate files on disk to the new GLADE system at NWSC.

As always, these dates may change if critical situations arise. However, based on early users experiences, we are confident that we will be able to hold closely to this schedule.