IBM TO BUILD THE WORLD'S MOST POWERFUL WEATHER SUPERCOMPUTER
ARMONK, NY, December 21, 2001 -- IBM announced today that it has been selected by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) to build the world's most powerful supercomputer for weather prediction, enabling meteorologists to offer new and much improved forecasts. Dubbed "Blue Storm," the IBM eServer p690-based system will provide the European National Weather Services with advanced weather information that will enhance activities ranging from the early warning of severe storms and floods to the optimal routing of ships at sea to the planning of family picnics.
IBM will supply ECMWF with a computing infrastructure including a supercomputer that is projected to be about five times more powerful than ECMWF's current systems, together with a data storage network of IBM disk and tape systems as well as software that speeds the flow of data to and from the supercomputer's thousands of microprocessors.
ECMWF's researchers will access Blue Storm via IBM IntelliStation workstations running Linux, while researchers throughout Europe will access the system over a wide-area network.
According to Dr. Burridge, Blue Storm will provide ECMWF with the unprecedented level of computational power needed to make major advances in three strategic areas:
IBM will provide ECMWF with:
ECMWF's weather forecasts are essential to many business activities, such as routing oil tankers and cargo ships at sea, as well as demand planning for electric utilities and manufacturers. The organization supplies meteorological information to national weather services, which issue warnings, present daily television weather forecasts throughout Europe, and provide specialized services to their many commercial and governmental users.
Today's announcement highlights a powerful trend towards the use of IBM supercomputers and storage systems to predict weather and climate changes. IBM technology has recently been selected by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Naval Oceanographic Office, the National Climactic Data Center, Germany's Deutscher Wetterdienst and other premier weather forecasting and climate modelling organizations worldwide.
The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is an international organisation supported by 22 European States. Its Member States are Belgium, Denmark, Federal Republic of Germany, Spain, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom; the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Iceland and Slovenia are Co-operating States.
The principal objectives of the Centre are the daily preparation of medium-range weather forecasts up to 10 days ahead for distribution to the meteorological services of the Member States; scientific and technical research directed to the improvement of these forecasts; the development of an operational seasonal forecasting capability; and the collection and storage of appropriate meteorological data. ECMWF also makes supercomputing resources available to its Member States for their own research.