SGI bolsters NASA Discover climate change supercomputer

SGI has announced that it has been picked out by NASA to bolster the latter’s analysis
and number crunching capabilities when it comes to researching climate change.

Specifically, SGI has been enlisted to improve the NASA Center for Climate Simulation’s (NCCS) Discover supercomputer, which works with weather data and climate simulations in time scales that range all the way from seasons and years through to centuries.

The results of the short and long-term visualisations produced by Discover are then disseminated to climate scientists and researchers, laboratories and universities across the globe, helping to hone and accelerate our understanding of the somewhat controversial issue of climate change.

Of course, said weather pattern simulations, particularly those longer time frame affairs, involve massive amounts of data, which is why NASA is using SGI to upgrade some legacy portions of its supercomputer to help cope with such workloads, and to reduce maintenance costs.

NASA has chosen a 1.9 petaflops SGI Rackable clusters featuring an Intel Xeon E5-2696 v3 processor with a non-blocking Mellanox fat tree FDR interconnect. The latter will allow the NCCS to hook up existing scalable units to the SGI Rackable Scalable Unit.

The new solution is also ideal due to space issues at the NCCS, as it’s a dense system with fewer nodes and more cores, which also offers cost savings and highly efficient cooling via water-chilled server racks.

The extra compute power provided to Discovery will enable NASA to produce higher resolution weather simulations, and cope with crunching larger still amounts of data. The end result should be more reliable research produced by climate change scientists who use this data, and more precise results able to be pinpointed on a regional level when it comes to utilising global climate modelling results.

Daniel Duffy, high-performance computing lead at the NCCS, commented: “Earth’s climate is constantly evolving, and we have the opportunity to create and analyse data to tell us why and how. Thanks to high-performance computing technology available today, researchers are able to assert credible findings from climate simulations.”

“With SGI’s compute technology, we can analyse more data and run more global simulations at much higher resolutions, enabling significantly increased fidelity and insights for our researchers.”