Marine Science Faculty Publications

Ocean Modelling on Supercomputers

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Indian Ocean, Wind Stress, Ocean Modelling, Vector Length, Vector Computation

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


We describe the use of supercomputers in general and the necessary considerations for their efficient use in ocean modelling. A brief history of supercomputer development is given, and the relative merits of the Cray X-MP and Cyber 205 (the two leading supercomputers at present) machines are compared. Automatic vectorization is described for both machines. Explicit vectorization via the Cyber 205 Fortran vector extensions is discussed.

We next describe a specific example of a model of the Indian Ocean. The model was originally run on a Cyber 170/760 scalar computer in standard Fortran and has been rewritten in the explicit Cyber 205 Vector Fortran. Sections of model code before and after vectorization are presented to illustrate the usage of the special features of the Cyber 205. The vectorized version of the model runs approximately 32 times faster than the scalar version. Some key results of the model simulation are also described.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Ocean Modelling on Supercomputers, in M. E. Luther & J. J. O'Brien (Eds.), Advanced Physical Oceanographic Numerical Modelling, Springer, p. 265-297