UK gov splashes out £11m on climate change supercomputing

The British government is set to spend £11 million on IBM supercomputing capacity to model climate change more effectively.

As part of a £60 investment, the Department for Energy Climate Change (DECC) is looking to improve the UK’s ability to understand and prepare for climate change.

Much of the cash for development, around £50 million, will go to the Met Office Hadley Centre to aid climate research and modelling up to 2015.

Approximately £11 million has been spent on High Performance Computing.  This basically means supercomputing capacity and the hardware necessary for climate modelling. With a load of new kit, it seems that DECC is hoping to give an even more accurate reading of when the world’s penguin population will croak and just when progress can begin for vineyards in the Hull region.

According to DECC, the new investment has taken the form of eight supernodes (32 drawers) of IBM Power775 supercomputer servers.

It also includes data archive storage for extra HPC hardware – 33 petabytes of storage, three servers, 5760 media tapes and two tape frames.

The full DECC contribution was £7.43 million, for six supernodes, with the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) chipping in £3.76 million for two supernodes and the data archive storage.

The idea behind the climate modelling is to help make businesses understand threats better, and provide more evidence to support greater use of renewable energy.

Universities Minister David “Two Brains” Willets said that supercomputing is “fundamental to modern research”, especially with increasing data complexity.

TechEye approached the Met Office about ‘The Penguin Question’ – to find out what the supercomputer will do exactly, and whether it can give us a precise date for the ice caps melting – but we are yet to receive comment.