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Primeur weekly 2017-09-04

Special

ETP4HPC to lay out roadmap for tangible HPC products within Europe ...

Focus

Primeur Magazine team unveils the largest directory of HPC organisations in the universe ...

Primeur Magazine team unveils the largest directory of HPC organisations in the universe ...

Quantum computing

First quantum annealing computer in the U.S. to have more than 2000 qubits installed and operational ...

Is the world on the brink of a computing revolution? - Quantum computing at the 5th Heidelberg Laureate Forum ...

Focus on Europe

Smart tomographic sensors control industrial processes of tomorrow ...

DeepL to launch DeepL Translator ...

Middleware

Learning Database speeds queries from hours to seconds ...

Unifying statistics, computer science, and applied mathematics ...

New theorems help robots to correct errors on-the-fly and learn from each other ...

Ace Computers delivers BeeGFS parallel file system for supercomputers ...

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University acquires Cray CS cluster supercomputer to advance aerospace research ...

Hardware

ScaleMP completes $10 million funding round to accelerate growth ...

Optalysys and Earlham Institute demonstrate results of breakthrough optical processing for sequence alignment ...

University of Southern Mississippi gains campus-wide HPC cluster for research ...

Applications

New boarding procedures, smaller cabin size may limit infection on planes ...

Shaden Smith and Yang You announced as recipients of 2017 ACM/IEEE-CS George Michael Memorial HPC Fellowships ...

A new cosmic lab to view the Big Bang movie ...

Optical control of magnetic memory - New insights into fundamental mechanisms ...

Machine-learning earthquake prediction in lab shows promise ...

Caching system could make data centres more energy efficient ...

Supercomputing the weather with Thor ...

The Cloud

VMware and Dell EMC partner to deliver first data protection solution for VMware Cloud on AWS ...

Oracle expands IoT Cloud portfolio, enabling customers to accelerate intelligence and ROI from connected assets ...

VMware advances software to help customers modernize data centres ...

Fujitsu and VMware extend global partnership to empower organisations' digital transformations ...

VMware and AWS announce initial availability of VMware Cloud on AWS ...

VMware and Pivotal launch Pivotal Container Service (PKS) and collaborate with Google Cloud to bring Kubernetes to enterprise customers ...

Supercomputing the weather with Thor


The Thor weather forecasting supercomputer acquired in May 2017 by Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., generates thunderstorm likelihood and potential, and compiles many other weather scenarios that could impact military operations. When purchased, Thor was ranked the 150th most powerful supercomputer on earth, and is now located at Offutt AFB, Nebraska. Credit: U.S. Air Force Graphic by Benjamin Newell.
24 Aug 2017 Hanscom Air Force Base - The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center has acquired a supercomputer that is the latest step in a long-running weather prediction arms race. The system, named Thor, models global weather patterns and provides individual air bases and army units with specific forecasts for areas as small as 17 square kilometers. The computer system is comprised of nearly 1,000 individual blade servers. When constructed in May 2016, Thor was the 150th most powerful supercomputer on earth, according to TOP500, which rates supercomputer speeds.

"Knowing accurate weather forecasts has always been a military imperative", stated Dr. Frank Ruggiero, Thor's lead engineer at AFLCMC-Offutt AFB, Nebraska, where the system is located. "Going back to D-Day, one of the major reasons that operation was successful was surprise. That surprise was generated partially because the Germans did not have accurate reads on weather in the North Atlantic. They thought we couldn't invade June 6, 1944, because the weather wasn't good enough."

Today, accurate weather modeling is dependent on a few major factors. Initial data gathering via satellite, buoys and ground weather stations provides current weather conditions at the point of collection. The ability to compile that data is a second step. The final step relies on some of the largest computing centres on earth to crunch composite conditions and forecast the likely future state of the weather. This third step is where Thor comes in.

Prior to acquiring Thor, Army and Air Force weather predictions relied on data from the United Kingdom Meteorological Office. Thor's increased capacity allows weather Airmen at Offutt to generate initial conditions and process them. Locally produced baseline data, combined with Thor's increased processing speed, results in forecasts reaching the warfighter in half the time. This gives forecasters and mission planners up to three extra hours to exploit forecasts.

Hanscom's acquisition process began in 2014, and development by the prime contractor, Northrop Grumman Corp., took one full year. Northrop installed Thor in early 2016 and handed it over to the Air Force in May 2017.

"We're running the same modelling programme as our allies in the United Kingdom, Australia, South Korea and New Zealand", stated Robert Born, Thor program manager. "That way, when we're in joint operations, we can all be working off the same forecast and aligning our plans to the same base assumptions."

In addition to providing a processing location for all U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army forecasts, Thor is able to provide more customized forecasts for military applications. Aeronautical forecasts include up to 80 weather gradients reaching high into the atmosphere, whereas civilian forecasts usually only cover ground reports. Thor also works to provide narrow forecasts in remote areas where military units are active, typically overlooked in more regionally-focused forecast models.

"An accurate forecast is a force multiplier", stated Dr. Ruggiero. "We know that military operations depend on weather, and Thor can provide commanders with that knowledge."
Source: Air Force Office of Scientific Research

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2017-09-04

Special

ETP4HPC to lay out roadmap for tangible HPC products within Europe ...

Focus

Primeur Magazine team unveils the largest directory of HPC organisations in the universe ...

Primeur Magazine team unveils the largest directory of HPC organisations in the universe ...

Quantum computing

First quantum annealing computer in the U.S. to have more than 2000 qubits installed and operational ...

Is the world on the brink of a computing revolution? - Quantum computing at the 5th Heidelberg Laureate Forum ...

Focus on Europe

Smart tomographic sensors control industrial processes of tomorrow ...

DeepL to launch DeepL Translator ...

Middleware

Learning Database speeds queries from hours to seconds ...

Unifying statistics, computer science, and applied mathematics ...

New theorems help robots to correct errors on-the-fly and learn from each other ...

Ace Computers delivers BeeGFS parallel file system for supercomputers ...

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University acquires Cray CS cluster supercomputer to advance aerospace research ...

Hardware

ScaleMP completes $10 million funding round to accelerate growth ...

Optalysys and Earlham Institute demonstrate results of breakthrough optical processing for sequence alignment ...

University of Southern Mississippi gains campus-wide HPC cluster for research ...

Applications

New boarding procedures, smaller cabin size may limit infection on planes ...

Shaden Smith and Yang You announced as recipients of 2017 ACM/IEEE-CS George Michael Memorial HPC Fellowships ...

A new cosmic lab to view the Big Bang movie ...

Optical control of magnetic memory - New insights into fundamental mechanisms ...

Machine-learning earthquake prediction in lab shows promise ...

Caching system could make data centres more energy efficient ...

Supercomputing the weather with Thor ...

The Cloud

VMware and Dell EMC partner to deliver first data protection solution for VMware Cloud on AWS ...

Oracle expands IoT Cloud portfolio, enabling customers to accelerate intelligence and ROI from connected assets ...

VMware advances software to help customers modernize data centres ...

Fujitsu and VMware extend global partnership to empower organisations' digital transformations ...

VMware and AWS announce initial availability of VMware Cloud on AWS ...

VMware and Pivotal launch Pivotal Container Service (PKS) and collaborate with Google Cloud to bring Kubernetes to enterprise customers ...