ECMWF to Boost European Weather Forecasting with New Cray System

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Today Cray announced the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) has selected a Cray XC30 supercomputer and Cray Sonexion storage for their next operational facility. The new Cray system will improve ECMWF’s forecasting capabilities through increased resolution and model enhancements, as well as support ECMWF’s research program.

I am looking forward to working with Cray to enable us to continue improving the skill of our weather predictions. The Cray system will be a strong foundation to meet our strategic, operational and research objectives,” said ECMWF Director-General, Professor Alan Thorpe. “ECMWF’s history of using supercomputers dates back to 1979 when the Centre issued its first operational medium-range weather forecast. Our European member states will all continue to benefit from the ground-breaking weather research we can provide on this new system.”

The Cray multi-petaflops supercomputing infrastructure at ECMWF is designed for operational resiliency featuring two Cray XC30 systems and a multi-petabyte Cray Sonexion storage system. The Sonexion system is a fully integrated, scale-out Lustre system designed for a broad range of big data and high performance computing (HPC) workloads. It offers compact design for maximum density and can reduce the storage footprint by 50 percent for petascale systems.

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This is a big system with a deal value of around $64 million USD, and we’re thinking this news may stir things up here in the States. Recently criticized for having “falling behind the Europeans,” the National Weather Service plans to upgrade its own forecasting capabilities with new supercomputing resources funded by Congress in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.