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New Bull supercomputer powers weather and climate research at Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute

Posted on 23 August 2011 by Pierre Picard

KNMI logoThe Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) and Bull partner in a new high performance super computing environment. Both parties collaborate in order to further optimize weather and climate forecasting in what will be one of the best performing and environmentally friendly weather data centers in Europe.

Besides the innovative ‘designed-and-produced in Europe’ technology, Bull also offers comprehensive HPC services, including consultancy, maintenance, monitoring and support. The new environment will be based on the bullx® blade system. This Bull technology offers KNMI resilience, a fast implementation time, high energy efficiency and a lower Total Cost of Ownership.

Frits Brouwer, KNMI director, points out that the new supercomputer is forty times more powerful than KNMI’s current system. This offers KNMI more opportunities to issue early warnings in case of extreme weather. It also enhances KNMI’s capabilities for climate research. According to Brouwer, KNMI has selected Bull for its comprehensive solution: “The hardware, combined with Bull’s knowledge support, gives us confidence in our cooperation. With Bull, we expect to have found the right partner who is able to address our computing needs for the coming years.”

Aside from power efficient components incorporated in the compute nodes such as, ultra capacitors and low-voltage power supplies, Bull also proposed the ‘Bull Cool Cabinets’. These innovative racks are equipped with special, water-cooled doors, resulting in a much more efficient power consumption factor than cooling by means of traditional air conditioning.

The fact that KMNI has chosen Bull underlines our strong position in the extreme computing world. In cooperation with KNMI we have designed a system that delivers the required computing power to guarantee timely and accurate weather information. At the same time this system is able to perform in an extremely energy efficient manner,” comments Henny van Galen, Commercial Director at Bull.

The Bull solution consists of 396 bullx B500 compute nodes, equipped with Intel® Xeon® Series 5600 processors, for a total of 4,752 cores and 9.5 TB memory, and delivering a peak performance of 58.2 Teraflops.

About KNMI

KNMI is the Dutch national institute for weather, climate research and seismology. It disseminates weather information to the public at large, the government, aviation and the shipping industry in the interest of safety, the economy and a sustainable environment. To gain insight into long-term developments, KNMI conducts research on climate change. Making the knowledge, data and information on hand at KNMI accessible is one core activity. KNMI is an agency of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.

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