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European weather centre upgrades supercomputers

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is aiming to improve its weather information with the help of upgraded IBM supercomputers.

The Reading-based international organisation, supported by 30 countries, has signed a deal to replace the High Performance Computing Facility at its centre from 2009 onwards.

IBM will provide two Power6 clusters during 2008, each with a potential peak performance of about 145 TFlops (1012 floating point operations per second).

These clusters would currently be placed in the top 10 computers in terms of performance in the world. In 2011, IBM will replace these clusters with future Power systems.

Isabella Weger, head of the computing division at ECMWF, said, "The new computer system will help ECMWF to further improve its global numerical weather prediction models.

"In particular, it will increase the resolution of the forecast system, and by making the best use of satellite data, it will enable us to provide useful information for early warnings of severe weather events."


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