Weather agency's supercomputer is getting an upgrade

Weather agency's supercomputer is getting an upgrade

By Patricia Daukantas

GCN Staff

NOV. 20'The world's sixth-fastest supercomputer, an IBM RS/6000 SP at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction in Camp Springs, Md., is in the midst of an upgrade that will greatly increase its computing power.

Once the upgrade is finished, the system will add more detail to the weather simulations that meteorologists across the country use in making daily forecasts.

NCEP, part of the National Weather Service, recently installed a 256-node RS/6000 configuration with 1,102 IBM Power3 processors, said Carl P. Staton, NCEP's central operations director. Next month the agency is scheduled to switch its operational weather simulations to the new configuration from its original 768-processor RS/6000 [see story at www.gcn.com/vol19_no4/enterprise/1337-1.html].

Early next year, NCEP will install a second 256-node system joined to the first one, Staton said.

The doubling of the new system will enable NCEP to start running, by November 2001, a more detailed version of one of its main weather simulations, known as the Eta mesoscale model.

The current Eta model simulates North American weather patterns with a resolution of 22 kilometers, Staton said. Next year, that resolution will go to 12 kilometers, enabling meteorologists to see finer details in weather patterns.

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