Would you be willing to fire your local weatherman (or woman) for a supercomputer?
Well, maybe that person will be reduced to reporting what the supercomputer forecasted. Either way, this is a sign of the near future.
Climate supercomputer coming soon
The Met Office partnered up with Microsoft to design and create a weather forecasting supercomputer in the UK. Scientists claim it will offer weather forecasting that will be much more accurate. More importantly, in the long term, but the supercomputer will also assess climate change daily.
UK government authorities recently said that it would invest £1.2bn in this aggressive new project. When completed, experts believe it will be among the top 25 supercomputers on the planet. Presently, the estimated completion date of summer of 2022. And Microsoft intends to continually update its software as computing becomes more powerful over the next decade.
Scholars worldwide have applauded this partnership as they combine the sciences of technology and weather. The overall community sees this as a means leading to even more future advances in supercomputing and climate understanding.
What do supercomputers offer in general to our society?
Many people do not understand the massive impact that these new supercomputers and their incredible supercomputing power will have. Let’s examine some of the basic improvements that supercomputers will provide:
More competitive industry
The digitization process of the industry relies heavily on supercomputing. Using HPC, we could not have created the Airbus A380, a world-beating aircraft. Using HPC-based simulation, the car industry has cut the time it takes to develop new vehicle platforms in half while significantly improving safety and comfort. We need supercomputers to explore the universe.
Supercomputing, however, is not limited to large research centers. The cloud and networking allow every research center or innovative start-up to access supercomputing as a service.
Benefits to our healthcare
In a few hours, supercomputers can detect genetic changes responsible for tumor onset and mutation in a simple, quick, and precise way. When newborns suffer from genetic disorders – the leading cause of infant mortality in the modern world – they do not show all of the classic symptoms that would allow us to diagnose them.
Two genes are responsible for a baby’s illness in one case after one day of supercomputing analysis. Five years later, the baby is alive and well, thanks to this effective treatment.
From 1970 to 2012, severe weather caused 150.000 deaths and €270 billion in economic damage in Europe. The more powerful the supercomputer, the more precisely and in advance climate scientists can forecast the size and path of storms and floods, helping them activate early warning systems.
For example, HPC was able to predict the size and path of the St. Jude’s Day storm in October 2013 four days before its formation, which helped reduce damage.
Making more scientific advances likely
HPC has revolutionized the way science is conducted. To simulate the cellular structure and functionalities of the brain, sophisticated computational models require supercomputers. By studying how the brain functions, we will combat diseases, such as those caused by old age.
As a result, scientific advances are pushing the boundaries of ICT research: the new data-driven science requires more computing power and data capacity and an ‘open’ environment where researchers can access and use data and computing resources easily. “Open Science” is the new reality, so as part of our Digital Single Market initiative, the Commission is trying to develop a “Science Cloud.”
More reliable decision-making
Global challenges are becoming more complex – at both the local and planetary levels. In a complex world, where decision-making processes must be precise and fast to avoid catastrophes, the convergence of Big Data, HPC, and Cloud technologies will allow new applications and services.
It is supercomputers that help develop essential public policies, such as homeland security and climate change. As a result, HPC has been made a national priority in the US, Japan, or China.
Applying supercomputing to climate change
The new climate change supercomputer will collect critical data regarding a worldwide hot topic. All of science will be able to achieve more understanding about the Earth’s climate characteristics. In addition, this will allow the UK to be at the cutting edge of climate science in the upcoming decades.
Computers classified as supercomputers have the architecture, resources, and components required for massive computing. Today’s supercomputers are comprised of tens of thousands of processors that can perform billions and trillions of calculations per second.
The purpose of supercomputers is primarily to provide massive computing power for businesses and organizations. Supercomputers are based on parallel processing and grid computing principles, where a process is executed simultaneously on thousands of processors or distributed among them.
It is true that supercomputers contain thousands of processors and occupy large amounts of floor space. However, they still retain most of the critical components of a typical computer, such as a processor(s), peripheral devices, connectors, an operating system, and applications.
Where the new supercomputer will be located
However, the Met Office stated that the new computer would be located in the south of the country. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Cray supercomputers will be integrated with Microsoft Azure’s cloud computing services.
It will be driven by 100% renewable energy and have over 1.5 million processor cores. It will also have more than 60 petaflops – or 60 quadrillions (60,000,000,000,000,000) calculations per second.
Then it should be able to process more data more rapidly and run simulations of the atmosphere more accurately.