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Earth Supercomputing News Science

Climate Change Research Gets Petascale Supercomputer 121

dcblogs writes "The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has begun has begun using a 1.5 petaflop IBM system, called Yellowstone. For NCAR researchers it is an enormous leap in compute capability — a roughly 30x improvement over its existing 77 teraflop supercomputer. Yellowstone is capable of 1.5 quadrillion calculations per second using 72,288 Intel Xeon cores. The supercomputer gives researchers new capabilities. They can run more experiments with increased complexity and at a higher resolution. This new system may be able to reduce resolution to as much as 10 km (6.2 miles), giving scientists the ability to examine climate impacts in greater detail. Increase complexity allows researchers to add more conditions to their models, such as methane gas released from thawing tundra on polar sea ice. NCAR believes it is the world's most powerful computer dedicated to geosciences."
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Climate Change Research Gets Petascale Supercomputer

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @03:13PM (#41672635)

    Hey look, when we model the city where the machine is, there's a hot spot. What could be causing it?

    • by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @04:10PM (#41673297) Homepage Journal
      The computer will be so big that instead of predicting the climate change, will provoke it.
    • On a global scale, the impact is very small compared to the information it can yield.

      The hot spot will only be actual heat generated which will probably be on the order of a small town. The electricity generated to run it may or may not be from non-CO2 producing sources (hydro, nuclear, etc) so that could possibly up the CO2 output at the generating station or on the grid, or not.

      Congrats to NCAR!
  • by BigT ( 70780 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @03:17PM (#41672695)

    All this computer power is going to climate study/prediction, while weather prediction is limping along with .07 petaflops. See much more discussion on the topic here: http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2012/05/us-climate-versus-weather-computers.html [blogspot.com]

    • next step is weather control and need to research in a lab setting be for taking it full scale

    • by buglista ( 1967502 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @03:29PM (#41672837)
      You are a dick; in future please try googling for something before spouting off. Even the UK has a petaflop for weather. http://www.zdnet.com/met-office-buys-ibm-petaflop-supercomputer-3039457156/ [zdnet.com]
      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        All the good that does them. They're still wrong more than half the time, that's worse than Environment Canada.

      • He is a dick for pointing out that currently IN THE US the weather computing power is at 0.07 petaflops? What was he supposed to google? How about "Is is a dick move to point out the lack of computer weather prediction capacity in the US without providing a non-sequitur mention of UK computer weather prediction capacity?"
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Well, you could search for "US meteorology petaflops" and you get the an article in the first link on Google.... which happens to be the same computer being discussed in the summary here, because NCAR does short term forecast computation work too. So with this unit alone, US weather computing power is 1.6 petaflops too.
    • I had no idea that is crazy. Does anyone know of other research services are being left in the dust like this?
    • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

      Weather prediction is mostly limited by the amount and precision of data and the fact that it's impossible to accurately predict a chaotic system after a certain point, not computing power.

    • With all the money invested into this they better find out that Global Warming is real and Man made otherwise they'll have the budgets cut pretty hard.

  • ... how many apps does it have?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wonder how much heat that machine emits.

    • by cruff ( 171569 )
      The facility is mainly cooled by the ambient air, except for the hottest days of summer. Despite the approximately 30x increase in compute capacity, the Yellowstone cluster only requires not quite 2x the electric power of the previous system, Bluefire, a Power 6 based cluster.
  • by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @03:24PM (#41672779)

    NCAR - We confirm your still f#cked, only faster!

  • ...is CAN IT RUN DOOM?
  • by fredrated ( 639554 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @03:35PM (#41672921) Journal

    Climate deniers have rejected the results of the new, higher speed climate models in 3 femtoseconds, proving even faster than the new supercomputer.

    • I don't know what a "climate denier" even is. However, what I hope this new processing power brings is an end to the excuses as to why the current models are so bad and a new age where models are truly scrutinized to see if they are in fact accurate or not.
  • by ewg ( 158266 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @03:43PM (#41673015)

    If climate scientists run a supercomputer in a room full of warming skeptics, does it give off any heat?

    • If climate scientists run a supercomputer in a room full of warming skeptics, does it give off any heat?

      Which one generates more heat? I need a grant here; come on!

  • From the summary: NCAR believes it is the world's most powerful computer dedicated to geosciences.

    And, still, it won't provide enough computational power to discriminate between natural phenomena and anthropogenic global warming.
  • by Antipater ( 2053064 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @04:12PM (#41673331)
    They've got 72,000 cores, but their software license only allows them to use 2 at a time.
  • Or will it heavily modify the climate itself with its power hunger while computing?
  • If they were really concerned about climate change, they would be using an adiabatic computer [strangepaths.com] for their simulations.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    1.5 petaflops is not "roughly 30x" 77 teraflops; it's just under 20 times.

  • It doesn't matter how powerful your computer is, when you've got only the barest idea of the inputs and the parameters of your model, the output is still going to be crap. Assuming your model is any good in the first place, which is unlikely.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus