What is this? Hint, Not Your Home Computer System...

Friday, 11 September 2009

The new NOAA's IBM supercomputers.

Behold the newly completed supercomputer system at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The $180 million project took 9 years to complete and is actually two separate weather predicting systems called Stratus and Cirrus.

The new supercomputers are capable of making 69.7 trillion calculations per second which should result in better ability to predict and update severe weather forecasts to local communities.

Along with the real-time data, the new system uses 20 separate weather models to predict what will happen accurately for up to 5 days. After that, things start to get a little sketchy.

The cool thing about the new system is that the weather predicting models can be tweaked and tested on the parallel back-up system Cirrus. They can the compare the results to what happened in real life. If the weather model adjustments are better or more accurate, they can easily be incorporated into the live Stratus system.

You can read the full and very interesting article about the new system over at Wired Magazine.

Image credit: NOAA

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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