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Blue Waters Supercomputer Used in White House Arctic Initiative

The Blue Waters supercomputer, housed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications on campus, is playing an instrumental role in a White House project aimed at mapping out the Arctic. High-resolution topographic maps of Alaska that were released last week were created by Blue Waters. They are the first high-resolution, high-quality images of the region. Collaborators from Ohio State and Cornell universities are working with Paul Morin, head of the University of Minnesota’s Polar Geospatial Center, on his ArcticDEM project, using Blue Waters to create digital elevation models of the region. These DEM’s are computer-generated 3D topographic maps that show the height of objects on the surface of the earth. The DEMs produced by Blue Waters have a higher resolution and are more accurate in gaging height than current elevation models. These will allow new research to be conducted, such as helping researchers track ice loss better. Learn more at

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