To provide more accurate weather and climate forecasts, the British government will invest 1.2 billion pounds (1.6 billion dollars) in the world’s most powerful supercomputer.
Supercomputers play a significant role in computer science. They are useful for a wide range of intensive tasks, such as weather forecasting, climate research, quantum mechanics, molecular modeling, oil and gas exploration, and physical simulations.
The new supercomputer, managed by the country’s Met Office, will predict severe weather and the impacts of climate change.
Besides, it will more accurately predict storms, select the most suitable locations for flood defenses. The new supercomputer will give more sophisticated rainfall predictions.
It will also make forecasting more manageable for airports. With the help of these machines, airports will be able to plan for potential disruption. They also provide more detailed information for the energy sector so it can prevent probable energy blackouts.
Alok Sharma, Business and Energy Secretary of the UK, said investment for a new supercomputer would further hasten weather forecasts, helping people be more prepared for weather disruption. It will make it easier for them to plan travel journeys or deploy flood defenses.
Supercomputers with Super-data Capabilities
The new supercomputer will also strengthen the UK’s data technology capabilities. Britain is hosting the year-end climate summit.
Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the UK, is trying to demonstrate the country’s leadership in both studying the climate and reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
His government intends to use data generated by the new computer to inform policy as it seeks to initiate the action against climate change.
Penny Endersby, Chief Executive at Met Office, said the machine will help the UK maintain the leading position in the field of weather and climate science and services.
Detailed weather predictions for the UK now take place every hour instead of every three hours. They will provide essential and timely updates when extreme weather is approaching.
£1.2 billion relates to the total expected investment from the government. The likely contractual value for the supercomputing capability is £854 million.
Other costs include investment in the Observations Network, exploiting the capabilities of the supercomputer, and the program office costs.
The Met Office’s current supercomputers come to an end of life in late 2022. The first phase of the new supercomputer will increase the Met Office computing capacity by six-fold.
The government investment will replace Met Office supercomputing capabilities over ten years, from 2022 to 2032.