European Meterological Institute Launches NEC Supercomputer

By Markus Henkel

July 19, 2007

The Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) in Vienna has officially launched a new vector supercomputer. Capable of performing 512 billion arithmetic operations per second, the new NEC supercomputer is 28 times faster than its predecessor, an SGI supercomputer, and is designed to generate weather forecasts more quickly and with greater precision.

On June 19th, 2007, the NEC vector computer SX-8R, which has been in use since February, was ceremonially inaugurated. The installed NEC-SX-8R consists of two nodes, each with eight processors and connected by a high speed interconnect that was specially developed by NEC for that purpose. Each processor is running at 2.0 GHz. Each node achieve 256 gigaflops, for a total of 0.51 teraflops. Dr. Georg Kaindl, manager of the ADV, which is the institute’s department responsible for the operating of the computing centre and the computer network, explained that the uniqueness of the installation was due to the institute’s demanding system requirements. Only about 12 square metres of space was available, Kaindl added, and an expected enhancement of the computing power by a factor of 25 to 30 combined with the need for low energy consumption complicated the process even more.

This was also the main reason why the vector computer was eventually selected. Kaindl admitted that the decision for the new system was eased by the sum of its advantages over its predecessor. The most striking advantages of the NEC machine are its significantly smaller size, it faster performance, and its lower power consumption. Indeed, the new model has enormously enhanced computing power and has reduced the expense of energy and cooling because of its lower heat emission.

For ten years, ZAMG has been part of the ALADIN consortium in which various countries and their weather services are striving to improve and further develop short-term weather forecasting capabilities. ZAMG is a part of the RC-LACE (Regional Centre for Limited Area Modelling in Central Europe) group within the ALADIN consortium. Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania have teamed up to create a scientific network in which about 100 scientists are continuously working on ALADIN-NWP (Numerical Weather Prognosis Project). The director of ZAMG, Dr. Fritz Neuwirth, claimed that weather as a field of research has become so complex that any single regional weather service finds it difficult to provide state-of-the-art service. Consequently, the established cooperation was enormously important. The ALADIN model has been especially useful in the Alps and Central Europe. The ALADIN model, which performs weather forecasting tasks along with ozone and crisis models, runs 28 times faster on the new computer than on the old machine.

The basic idea of the ALADIN project, establishing a cooperation of the national weather services of Central and Eastern Europe for a common benefit, was initiated by Meteo France in 1990. Its tasks are:

  • The operation and maintenance of an NWP system for geographically limited areas. This method only needs moderate computing capacities, but unlike the global ARPEGE model, it provides a magnifying effect.
  • Operating with small model areas and big meshes; it is presumed that the decisive meteorological elements on a fine scale, such as local winds, breezes or thunderstorm lines, are mainly caused by the dynamic adaptation of the air streams to the earth’s surface.
  • The construction of an international NWP system with high standards in which all partners participate effectively and eventually share the common result.

ZAMG’s former system only permitted a resolution of about 9.6 kilometres, which no longer allowed them to be competitive, Neuwirth stated. The new supercomputer enables ZAMG to perform a resolution of 5 kilometres, and is expected to operate with a resolution of 2.5 kilometres in the future. Combined with a reduction of the time intervals between the actual calculations, Neuwirth stated that ZAMG is now able to generate four forecasts per day, instead of the usual two, which is an important improvement in quality for the institute. The institute’s director concluded that by calculating with narrower grid points, using the aforementioned mesh amplitude of 2.5 kilometres, the international accuracy standards would be matched and both present and future cooperation could be implemented.

In the same time period as ZAMG’s upgrade, the French weather service Meteo France acquired an almost identical computer, with respect to the architecture, so that in the future the software developed in a corporate prediction model project can be used more quickly and thus more efficiently at ZAMG. Neuwirth is confident that the new machine will ease cooperation by, for example, integrating the faster AROME weather model used by the French.

With the qualitative improvement in weather forecasting, ZAMG will achieve a higher level of accuracy. This will support the ability of authorities to fulfill their legal obligations in initiating the necessary measures to prevent damage to persons or property in extreme weather situations.

Makoto Tsukakoshi, manager of NEC High Performance Computing Europe Ltd., proudly stated that the ZAMG project demonstrated NEC’s ability to install high-performance computer systems with the lowest power consumption in comparison to other systems.

Initially, ZAMG and NEC have agreed to work together for five years. They would like to extend this cooperation in the future, enabling additional progress in weather and climate research, and providing NEC developers with some direction for improving hardware and software related to the needs of the ZAMG community.

—–

About the Author

Markus Henkel is a geodesist, science writer and lives in Hamburg, Germany. He writes about supercomputing, environmental protection and clinical medicine. For more information, email him at info@laengsynt.de or visit his websites: http://laengsynt.de and http://deepwave.org.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Exascale Escapes 2018 Budget Axe; Rest of Science Suffers

May 23, 2017

President Trump's proposed $4.1 trillion FY 2018 budget is good for U.S. exascale computing development, but grim for the rest of science and technology spend Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Hedge Funds (with Supercomputing help) Rank First Among Investors

May 22, 2017

In case you didn’t know, The Quants Run Wall Street Now, or so says a headline in today’s Wall Street Journal. Quant-run hedge funds now control the largest Read more…

By John Russell

IBM, D-Wave Report Quantum Computing Advances

May 18, 2017

IBM said this week it has built and tested a pair of quantum computing processors, including a prototype of a commercial version. That progress follows an an Read more…

By George Leopold

PRACEdays 2017 Wraps Up in Barcelona

May 18, 2017

Barcelona has been absolutely lovely; the weather, the food, the people. I am, sadly, finishing my last day at PRACEdays 2017 with two sessions: an in-depth loo Read more…

By Kim McMahon

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Exploring the Three Models of Remote Visualization

The explosion of data and advancement of digital technologies are dramatically changing the way many companies do business. With the help of high performance computing (HPC) solutions and data analytics platforms, manufacturers are developing products faster, healthcare providers are improving patient care, and energy companies are improving planning, exploration, and production. Read more…

US, Europe, Japan Deepen Research Computing Partnership

May 18, 2017

On May 17, 2017, a ceremony was held during the PRACEdays 2017 conference in Barcelona to announce the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between PRACE in Europe Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NSF, IARPA, and SRC Push into “Semiconductor Synthetic Biology” Computing

May 18, 2017

Research into how biological systems might be fashioned into computational technology has a long history with various DNA-based computing approaches explored. N Read more…

By John Russell

DOE’s HPC4Mfg Leads to Paper Manufacturing Improvement

May 17, 2017

Papermaking ranks third behind only petroleum refining and chemical production in terms of energy consumption. Recently, simulations made possible by the U.S. D Read more…

By John Russell

PRACEdays 2017: The start of a beautiful week in Barcelona

May 17, 2017

Touching down in Barcelona on Saturday afternoon, it was warm, sunny, and oh so Spanish. I was greeted at my hotel with a glass of Cava to sip and treated to a Read more…

By Kim McMahon

Exascale Escapes 2018 Budget Axe; Rest of Science Suffers

May 23, 2017

President Trump's proposed $4.1 trillion FY 2018 budget is good for U.S. exascale computing development, but grim for the rest of science and technology spend Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cray Offers Supercomputing as a Service, Targets Biotechs First

May 16, 2017

Leading supercomputer vendor Cray and datacenter/cloud provider the Markley Group today announced plans to jointly deliver supercomputing as a service. The init Read more…

By John Russell

HPE’s Memory-centric The Machine Coming into View, Opens ARMs to 3rd-party Developers

May 16, 2017

Announced three years ago, HPE’s The Machine is said to be the largest R&D program in the venerable company’s history, one that could be progressing tow Read more…

By Doug Black

What’s Up with Hyperion as It Transitions From IDC?

May 15, 2017

If you’re wondering what’s happening with Hyperion Research – formerly the IDC HPC group – apparently you are not alone, says Steve Conway, now senior V Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Launches Servers, Services, and Collaboration at GTC

May 10, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today launched a new liquid cooled GPU-driven Apollo platform based on SGI ICE architecture, a new collaboration with NVIDIA, a Read more…

By John Russell

IBM PowerAI Tools Aim to Ease Deep Learning Data Prep, Shorten Training 

May 10, 2017

A new set of GPU-powered AI software announced by IBM today brings automation to many of the tedious, time consuming and complex aspects of AI project on-rampin Read more…

By Doug Black

Bright Computing 8.0 Adds Azure, Expands Machine Learning Support

May 9, 2017

Bright Computing, long a prominent provider of cluster management tools for HPC, today released version 8.0 of Bright Cluster Manager and Bright OpenStack. The Read more…

By John Russell

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Just how close real-wo Read more…

By John Russell

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the cam Read more…

By John Russell

Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip

April 6, 2017

This week Google released a report detailing the design and performance characteristics of the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), its custom ASIC for the inference Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Last week, Google reported that its custom ASIC Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) was 15-30x faster for inferencing workloads than Nvidia's K80 GPU (see our coverage Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

Since our first formal product releases of OSPRay and OpenSWR libraries in 2016, CPU-based Software Defined Visualization (SDVis) has achieved wide-spread adopt Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a ne Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Facebook Open Sources Caffe2; Nvidia, Intel Rush to Optimize

April 18, 2017

From its F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif., today, Facebook announced Caffe2, a new open-source, cross-platform framework for deep learning. Caffe2 is Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which w Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling Read more…

By Steve Campbell

MIT Mathematician Spins Up 220,000-Core Google Compute Cluster

April 21, 2017

On Thursday, Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland had set a record for the largest Google Compute Eng Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Wants to be “Red Hat” of Deep Learning

January 26, 2017

IBM today announced the addition of TensorFlow and Chainer deep learning frameworks to its PowerAI suite of deep learning tools, which already includes popular Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu's Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural networ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Supercomputing Leaders Tackle the China Question

March 15, 2017

As China continues to prove its supercomputing mettle via the Top500 list and the forward march of its ambitious plans to stand up an exascale machine by 2020, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

DOE Supercomputer Achieves Record 45-Qubit Quantum Simulation

April 13, 2017

In order to simulate larger and larger quantum systems and usher in an age of "quantum supremacy," researchers are stretching the limits of today's most advance Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This