Weather bureau gets $80m Cray supercomputer


news The Bureau of Meteorology this week revealed it had signed a US$59 million (AU$80 million) contract with US supercomputer specialist Cray for a beefy machine that will deliver the agency about 16 times its current computing capacity and allow it to predict the weather that much better.

The Bureau announced the deal in a statement this week, saying the new machine would allow it to issue forecasts and warnings more often and with greater certainty and precision than ever before, giving the community and emergency services unprecedented information, particularly prior to and during severe and extreme weather.

In its own statement, Cray said the deal would see the agency provided with a Cray XC40 supercomputer and a Sonexion 2000 storage system.

The vendor said the deal marked a return of Cray systems to the Bureau, which in the past had run its weather models on earlier generation Cray X-MP and Y-MP supercomputers. Cray said the new XC40 supercomputer would deliver the computational resources to run nearly eight times as many more daily forecasts than their current system with five times the improvement in global model resolution.

“The Bureau of Meteorology produces a wide range of weather forecasts and meteorological services that have significant socio-economic impacts to a vast number of people, and we are honored that a Cray supercomputer will power their models,” said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray.

“The amazing amount of data and science embedded in weather and climate models is a great example of how data-driven our world is becoming today. Our vision and experience in helping customers leverage the increased complexity of data-intensive, production-quality supercomputers is a huge part of why the world’s leading operational weather and climate centers continue to turn to Cray. We are excited to be back in the Bureau, and we look forward to a long partnership.”

Cray XC40 supercomputers, the vendor said, included features such as: the Aries system interconnect; a Dragonfly network topology that frees applications from locality constraints; optional DataWarp applications I/O flash SSD accelerator technology; cooling systems to lower customers’ total cost of ownership; the next-generation of the Cray Linux Environment that supports a wide range of applications; Cray’s HPC optimized programming environment for improved performance and programmability, and the ability to handle a wide variety of processor types, including Intel Xeon processors, Intel Xeon Phi™ coprocessors, and NVIDIA® Tesla GPU accelerators.

The Cray Sonexion 2000 storage at the Bureau will be delivered in phases and, all total, will include more than 12 petabytes of high performance storage capacity.

Cray said the contract includes contracted deliverables and options for future deliverables. If the options are exercised as expected, the total contract is valued at about $53 million, the vendor said (although the BoM said US$59 million, which may include tax). The first phase of the contract is expected to be completed in 2016 and if exercised, the second phase is expected to be completed in 2019.

Can Delimiter get a review model? Please?

Image credit: Cray


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