Cray will predict rain or shine in Europe
By   |  March 08, 2016

Cray has announced the signing of a $ 36 million contract to upgrade and strengthen its supercomputers Cray XC and its Cray Sonexion storage system in use at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). Once the project is completed, these systems will enable this prominent numerical forecasting and meteorological research to improve its highly complex models in order to make predictions with an even higher degree of accuracy.

 In June 2013, Cray won a contract to provide the ECMWF two supercomputers Cray XC30 and Cray Sonexion storage system. Under this new contract, Cray will upgrade these supercomputers to the Cray XC40 model, which features a new generation of Intel Xeon processors. The company will also provide the ECMWF an extended Cray Sonexion 2000 Lustre storage system and a 32-core Cray XC40 -AC supercomputer equipped with the latest Intel Xeon Phi processor, code named Knights Landing.

Forecasts up to a full year
Located in Reading, UK, ECMWF is developing and applying numerical models and data assimilation systems on the dynamics, thermodynamics and composition of atmospheric envelope and the different elements of Earth system. As an independent intergovernmental organization supported by 34 States, the ECMWF specializes in global weather forecasts to two weeks but also provides forecasts for the longer term up to one year in advance. It is also responsible for air monitoring services and Climate Change under the European program Copernicus.

“This upgrade will help us improve the quality of service we deliver to our Member States and Cooperating States,” says Erland Källén, research director of the ECMWF. “We will be able to establish high resolution ensemble forecasts that facilitate the anticipation of extreme weather events in the medium term, up to two weeks in advance. We can also develop improved data assimilation methods, allowing us to better exploit the available observations of the Earth system and produce more detailed forecasts and more efficient atmospheric composition as well as high quality climate data sets ( reanalysis). ”

“We are delighted that the ECMWF has decided to upgrade its Cray systems and thus provide its researchers and scientists even more powerful computational tools to improve their weather forecasts globally,” says Catalin Morosanu, Cray commercial director for EMEA. “This ability to evolve our easy and economical systems is a key element of their design. This allows our customers to reduce the total cost of ownership of their systems over time and to quickly deploy our latest technology. Proud to partner with the ECMWF and contribute to the great work he does, we have to heart to continue this partnership successful. ”

A hardware and software environment built to meet HPC requirements
Designed to meet the performance needs of HPC users the Cray XC40 supercomputers have specific characteristics: Aries interconnect systems, Dragonfly network topology that frees applications from the constraints of location, SSD Flash DataWarp Acceleration Technology I/O (optional), innovative cooling systems to reduce the total cost of ownership for customers, tightly integrated high performance Cray Linux environment that supports a wide range of applications, Cray HPC programming environment optimized for superior performance and greater ease of development and compatibility with a wide variety of types of processors, including Intel Xeon models, Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors and NVIDIA Tesla GPU accelerators.

The expanded Cray Sonexion 2000 storage solution benefits of the dual expertise of Cray in Lustre software and a tightly integrated unique design that ensures maximum scalability and performance. The operation and management of this solution are also easier since it houses all the hardware and software components. With products and several years of maintenance, this new contract with the ECMWF stands at over 36 million. The systems are scheduled for delivery in 2016.

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