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The NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) will begin operating in June 2012, and will house NCAR's next generation HPC system. The NWSC will support a broad spectrum of Earth Science research drawn from a user community with diverse requirements for computing, storage, and data analysis resources. To ensure that the NWSC satisfies the needs of this community, the procurement benchmarking process was driven by science requirements from the start. We will discuss the science objectives for NWSC, translating scientific goals into technical requirements for a machine, and assembling a benchmark suite from community science models and synthetic tests to measure the technical capabilities of the proposed HPC systems. We will also talk about the benchmark analysis process, extending the benchmark suite as a testing tool over the life of the machine, and the applicability of the NWSC benchmarking suite to other HPC centers.