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ARMONK, NY - 21 Dec 2001: IBM announced today that it has been selected by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) to build the world's most powerful supercomputer and storage network for weather prediction, enabling meteorologists to offer new and much improved forecasts. Dubbed "Blue Storm," the IBM eServer p690-based system will provide the European National Weather Services with advanced weather information that will enhance activities ranging from the early warning of severe storms and floods to the optimal routing of ships at sea to the planning of family picnics.
IBM will supply ECMWF with a computing infrastructure including a supercomputer that is projected to be about five times more powerful than ECMWF's current systems, together with a data storage network of IBM storage serversand tape systems as well as software that speeds the flow of data to and from the supercomputer's thousands of microprocessors.
ECMWF's researchers will access Blue Storm via IBM IntelliStation workstations running Linux, while researchers throughout Europe will access the system over a wide-area network.
"Today's highly sophisticated numerical models of the world's atmosphere and oceans require the most powerful supercomputing resources," says Dr. David Burridge, director of ECMWF. "In addition to supplying unmatched technology, we are confident that IBM will be a trusted partner with the skills and experience to help us overcome many of the challenges we face in predicting the global weather."
According to Dr. Burridge, Blue Storm will provide ECMWF with the unprecedented level of computational power needed to make major advances in three strategic areas:
"ECMWF is renowned for developing new techniques that advance the science of meteorology," said Val Rahmani, general manager, IBM eServer pSeries, IBM Server Group. "By pushing the boundaries of supercomputing power, IBM supplies the organization's scientists with the tools to realize some of their most ambitious goals."
IBM will provide ECMWF with:
ECMWF's weather forecasts are essential to many business activities, such as routing oil tankers and cargo ships at sea, as well as demand planning for electric utilities and manufacturers. The organization supplies meteorological information to national weather services, which issue warnings, present daily television weather forecasts throughout Europe, and provide specialized services to their many commercial and governmental users.
Today's announcement highlights a powerful trend towards the use of IBM supercomputers and storage systems to predict weather and climate changes. IBM technology has recently been selected by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Naval Oceanographic Office, the National Climactic Data Center, Germany's Deutscher Wetterdienst and other premier weather forecasting and climate modelling organizations worldwide.