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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

SCIENCE: Modeling The Climate In The Future

Modeling the climate in the future will be aided by a super Computer, scientists hope. This is a report by MIT's Technology Review Magazine of July/August, 2008.
According to the report, a low-power super Computer could lead to ultrahigh -resolution climate models.
Engineers and scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have designed the super computer, which will use low power that can resolve climate models to the kilometer. Now the existing super computers are not nearly powerful enough to run algorithms that predicts future weather with kilometer scale resolution- algorithms that would allow researchers to improve the
overall accuracy of climate models and better inform local decisions about how to adapt to global warming. The new super computer is more powerful and hundreds of times more power efficient than the existing one which will make the calculations more cost effective.
The researchers used chip design software made by Tensilica, a chip manufacturer in Santa Clara,CA to build a processor with only the functions necessary for weather modeling. Also they will custom design the chip's memory and the circuitry that connects the 32 processors-or cores to reduce the inefficiencies and minimize the power consumption. The climate model that will run on the machine splits the globe into 20 million cells-one for each in the super computer- and will be able to simulate the movement of the storm systems and weather fronts.
The researchers will have to finalize the design of the 20 million core super computer and have to run the climate model on simulations looking for the problems with the hardware or the software and see the opportunities to optimize the performance and energy use. Hopefully in future much of the predictions can be made more accurate.
Ref: MIT's Technology Review/July-August 2008/
(Source:"Towards Ultra High Resolution Models Of Climate And Weather"
John Shalf et al.
International Journal of High Performance computing applications 22:149-165

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