NWS shopping for high-speed computer

The National Weather Service kicked off a multimillion-dollar acquisition this week for a new high-performance computer system that will process weather data faster.

NWS' National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) released a detailed project agreement spelling out its plans to buy the high-speed system.

NCEP plans to replace its current system with a Central Computer System to crunch numerical weather models used as the basis for forecasting. NCEP consists of nine national centers and is the starting point for nearly all weather forecasts in the country.

The CCS is more than a high-speed computer: It includes hardware, such as storage devices; software, such as an operating system; full system maintenance; and support services.

The contract could be worth as much as $163 million over 10 years if the agency exercises the all option years.

NCEP plans to release a formal request for proposals in August, with an award due in April 2002. The system is expected to be fully operational in July 2003.

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