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Swiss Supercomputer Aims to Predict Mountain Weather With Help of Gpus

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Skiing in the Swiss Alps.

An upgrade to the Swiss National Supercomputing Center's Cray XC30 supercomputer will allow it to more accurately predict the weather in the Swiss Alps.

Credit: Tourist Destinations

The Swiss National Supercomputing Center (CSCS) is preparing to upgrade its Cray XC30 supercomputer with NVIDIA graphics processing units (GPUs) to more accurately predict the weather in the mountains of the Swiss Alps.

The upgrade will enable the MeteoSwiss national weather service to accurately predict the weather in small valleys that cannot be covered by the current models, says CSCS associate director Thomas Schoenemeyer.

Over the course of the year CSCS will extend the computer's current 750 teraflops computing power to reach speeds that will be at least one petaflop. The machine will employ NVIDIA Tesla K20X GPU accelerators to "dramatically expand the breadth and depth of the center's research and discovery in climate and weather modeling," as well as an array of other disciplines, including astrophysics, materials science, and life science, according to NVIDIA.

The upgraded supercomputer also will be used to simultaneously run 30 slightly different weather forecasting models to get a more accurate average result, Schoenemeyer says. When the upgrade and expansion are completed, the system will be the first petascale supercomputer in Switzerland and the fastest hybrid GPU-accelerated supercomputer in Europe, Schoenemeyer notes.

From IDG News Service
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