Beijing Weather Bureau Forecast Includes IBM Supercomputer - InformationWeek

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Beijing Weather Bureau Forecast Includes IBM Supercomputer

The 80-node system powered by Power5+ microprocessors can deliver peak performance of 9.8 teraflops.

The Beijing weather bureau has bought an IBM System p575 supercomputer to help with forecasting and air-quality control, IBM said Thursday. Financial details were not disclosed

The System p575 is expected to provide 10 times the computational power of the Beijing Meteorological Bureau's current weather forecasting system. In addition to helping provide up-to-hour forecasts in the Beijing area, the supercomputer would also be used to help predict air quality in the city.

The 80-node system powered by Power5+ microprocessors can deliver peak performance of 9.8 teraflops. A teraflop is equal to a trillion operations per second. The initial configuration would rank the system among the 10 fastest super computers in China.

The system also is expected to provide finer numerical data for weather forecasting during the 2008 Olympics, BMB Director Liu Xulin said in a statement. "IBM brings many resources to help us improve forecasting, especially their world-class scientists and researchers, who combine meteorology with computer science."

IBM provides high-performance weather computers to numerous meteorological and environmental agencies, including the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency and the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasts. In Asia, key clients include the China National Climate Centre; China National Meteorological Centre; Taiwan Central Weather Bureau and the Thailand Meteorological Department.

IBM's Blue Gene/L this year was the world's fastest computer for the fourth consecutive time in the latest biannual list of the top 500 supercomputers. The list was released in June at the International Supercomputing Conference in Dresden, Germany.

IBM and Hewlett-Packard sold the bulk of the Top500 systems. HP led with 40.6% of the systems, up from 31.6% in November, while IBM has 38.4%, down from 47.2%. No other vendor had more than 5% of the systems on the list.

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