Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has built a new supercomputer for the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) National Center of Meteorology (NCM) to advance weather forecasting and climate research across the country.
Nicknamed ‘Atmosphere,’ the supercomputer has been built using the HPE Cray EX – an end-to-end high-performance computing (HPC) liquid-cooled platform. The combined 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processors and NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs, as well as advanced software, storage and networking technologies, will help NCM’s researchers to improve modeling, simulation, artificial intelligence and deep learning capabilities to process complex data, increase accuracy and predict weather events faster. NCM’s Atmosphere will go into service by the end of 2021.
Bill Mannel, vice president and general manager, high performance computing, HPE, said, “HPE-powered supercomputers support the majority of the world’s weather forecasting needs, whether it is to improve predictability of a hurricane’s landfall or to anticipate the spread and impact of wildfires. World-leading organizations such as the NCM apply the power of supercomputing to gain insights on weather and climate that are critical to decision-making and ensuring local and national safety. We are honored to have been selected by NCM to build its Atmosphere supercomputer, customized with powerful, end-to-end HPC solutions, to further its mission in making breakthroughs in weather and climate intelligence and provide real-time analysis for the UAE.”
To support ongoing weather forecasting needs for the UAE, NCM uses numerical weather prediction modeling software, such as the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model and COSMO (consortium for small-scale modeling), which leverage physics and dynamics-based models of the atmosphere and oceans to simulate and predict weather conditions.
With Atmosphere, the runtime of simulations running on these models will decrease by up to 200% on WRF and up to 300% on COSMO, significantly speeding time-to-insight on weather predictions. NCM runs these simulations to generate real-time weather analysis across several national and regional services for the UAE, including:
- Aviation safety to guide pilots during take-offs and landings at airports, which is supported by more than 100 UAE 24-hour airport weather monitoring stations that issue forecasts, weather data and warnings such as heavy winds, rain and turbulence.
- Preparation for tropical storms can be predicted by simulating atmospheric activity using patterns of previous storm events and augmented by applying AI capabilities.
Ahmad Alkhallafi, managing director at HPE UAE, said, “We are proud to collaborate with the National Center for Meteorology (NCM) to build its Atmosphere supercomputer. Equipping our partners and customers with capabilities to accelerate their digital transformation journey and unlock value, is core to our mission at HPE. With our latest development with NCM, HPE furthers its commitment to the UAE and its people by delivering an innovative yet sustainable system that supports NCM with weather forecasting faster than ever.”
Dr. Abdulla Al Mandous, director general of NCM and president of the Regional Association II (Asia) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said, “We are dedicated to providing the UAE with operational weather forecasting to provide real-time forecasts and alerts that inform local governments and citizens, and most importantly, help ensure safety. We are also committed to gaining a deeper understanding of the climate and its complex patterns, and to develop innovative technologies that can increase sustainability.
“With Atmosphere, we collaborated with HPE to design a significantly more performant supercomputer with targeted capabilities in modeling, simulation and artificial intelligence, to accelerate weather and climate insights and advance our nation’s overall R&D. By hosting this state-of-the-art supercomputer, the UAE is now the first country to operate the most powerful liquid-cooled system, based on the HPE Cray EX, for national weather centers across the Middle East and Africa.”
The NCM Atmosphere is built and powered by two HPE Cray EX cabinets, which are purpose-built HPC systems designed specifically to deliver advanced, scalable performance from petaflop to exaflop, with the world’s most energy-efficient footprint. Atmosphere will deliver faster performance at a theoretical peak performance of 2.8 petaflops, while enabling more energy efficiency using HPE Cray EX’s liquid-cooling capabilities.