Crowdsourcing the Louisiana flood response

Army tests HPC climate model in Azure cloud

The Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) is working with Microsoft to improve climate modeling and natural disaster resilience planning through the use of predictive analytics-powered, cloud-based tools and artificial intelligence services. 

Under a new agreement, ERDC will test the scalability of its coastal storm modeling system, CSTORM-MS -- which was previously run on high-performance computers -- inside Microsoft’s Azure Government cloud.

The CSTORM-MS models provide can give coastal communities a robust, standardized approach for determining the risk of future storm events and for evaluating flood risk reduction measures caused by tropical and extra-tropical storms, as well as wind, wave and water levels. 

Currently, CSTORM-MS models are run at ERDC’s Department of Defense Supercomputing Resource Center. In 2020, ERDC worked with DOD’s High Performance Modernization Program’s (HPCMP) on a feasibility study testing whether CSTORM-MS could be run in a commercial cloud. This initial testing with Microsoft’s Azure cloud was successful, ERDC officials said.

Through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between ERDC and Microsoft, the second phase of the project will demonstrate how well Azure can run CSTORM-MS’ entire North Atlantic Coast storm suite, which features a sea level rise value not previously simulated. The CRADA will also allow researchers to use the model results and replicate the workflow on other affected coastlines. 

Since 2017, Microsoft’s AI for Earth project has been providing cloud-based tools and artificial intelligence services to organizations working on changing the way they monitor, model and manage Earth's natural systems. 

About the Author

Susan Miller is executive editor at GCN.

Over a career spent in tech media, Miller has worked in editorial, print production and online, starting on the copy desk at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for Federal Computer Week and later helping launch websites and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a turn at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she rejoined what was to become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all the company's government-focused websites. Miller shifted back to editorial in 2012, when she began working with GCN.

Miller has a BA and MA from West Chester University and did Ph.D. work in English at the University of Delaware.

Connect with Susan at [email protected] or @sjaymiller.

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