New Zealand Building GPU-Accelerated Petaflop Supercomputer

New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) is upgrading their supercomputers with three new energy efficient systems that will be used for weather forecasting and climate research.

$18 million will be used to purchase three Cray systems, the most powerful being the 1.4 petaflop Cray XC50 supercomputer equipped with NVIDIA Tesla P100 accelerators that will installed at NIWA’s HPC facility in Wellington, New Zealand.

“NIWA is investing $18 million in the new supercomputer capability which will enable our scientists—including the largest team of weather and climate scientists in the country—to provide better information on hugely important issues such as how climate change will affect New Zealand. The ability of the new supercomputers to process vast amounts of data in very short spaces of time will also enable us to build more precise forecasting tools to help farmers and environmental managers make more informed decisions using the best information available.

“Industries that are weather-sensitive—such as the energy sector, farming, horticulture and tourism—will benefit directly from NIWA’s ability to make more accurate and more specific forecasts. The new supercomputers will also allow NIWA to improve early warnings of the effects of severe events, such as flooding and storm surge,” said NIWA Chief Executive John Morgan.

NIWA has a web-based subscription weather forecasting and information service, called NIWA forecast, which helps New Zealand farmers and growers weigh up risk and make preventative decisions like when to move stock and machinery, irrigate, and protect against frost, snow, heavy rain or high winds.

“To have access to such an incredibly high-powered supercomputers vastly boosts NIWA’s capabilities and is a huge step forward for New Zealand science,” Mr Morgan said.

Read more >