Yesterday, the UK MET Office unveiled its latest supercomputer in an effort to improve current forecast accuracy. The £33 million machine from IBM is actually a long-term contractual agreement to increase the overall computational capability. The first portion of the install is rated at an estimated 125Tflops peak, certainly no slouch. However, by 2011, the total system capacity will reach 1PF.
This computer will allow us to make the most accurate weather forecasts we have ever produced. People should be able to see a noticeable improvement in the accuracy of forecasting. Not only will it help us tell you what the weather will be like today and tomorrow, it will help create a much better long-term picture. Obviously, we can never predict the weather 100 per cent accurately, but this will help considerably.” [Steve Foreman, chief technology officer at the MET Office]
The contract between IBM and the MET Office actually extends through five years. Outside of the core system hardware, it includes support, maintenance and a mid-life upgrade. No word on the projected technical details of the mid-life bump. For more info on the new install, read the official release here and complementary article here.