Computer center Hydromet moves to modern computer technology


Situation Center Hydromet

You can say for sure that every one of us at least once a day weather forecast interested. However, not everyone knows that for a modest number of temperature and wind speed are the most complex mathematical calculations.

In recent years, the Hydrometeorological science has made great strides in the ability to predict natural hazards. For example, the regional models developed in RosHydroMet, we can predict atmospheric fronts and cyclones, storms, hail, snow, high winds and other unpleasant events on a scale ranging from minutes to days, and with a resolution of a few kilometers.

In the early twentieth century. British scientist Lewis Fry Richardson suggested that with the help of systems of differential equations of hydrodynamics can calculate the behavior of air masses. However, he estimated that in order to have time to make the necessary computing time, it would take several thousand people — while all the calculations were performed using mechanical calculators, or even manually.

Interesting fate of these works. Upon learning that the military uses them invented methods for calculating the efficiency of the use of poison gas, Richardson left the meteorology and destroyed his work. In the following decades, based on calculations of Richardson had developed a complex numerical weather prediction model — mathematical formulas that take into account all known physical laws that govern the weather conditions.

Operational weather prediction based on a mathematical model is made possible with the advent of fast computers. But the modern meteorological services for the accurate calculation of forecasts require special and powerful computing systems — clusters using supercomputer technology. Only a few countries have a fairly productive systems to independently carry out meteorological calculations, and very pleased that one of these countries — Russia. Two years ago at the computer center in Moscow Hydromet was installed cluster performance 27 teraflops (trillions of operations per second). With it, meteorologists were able to solve complex problems, which previously could not be considered. Probably many remember rare weather phenomenon — freezing rain, which was held on December 25 last year in the central area of Russia. Thanks to this computer complex Hydromet staff were able to advance to warn of impending danger.


new cluster RSK-Tornado

The next step — the creation of an integrated model of our planet, which will take into account not only the physical but also chemical and biological processes of the atmosphere, oceans and soil, and their nonlinear interaction. Such models can be called models of weather and climate of the new generation, and use them to plan to establish a "seamless" forecast ranges from a few minutes to tens of years. However, for the calculation of such complex models available computing power is not complex enough, so it was decided to upgrade it.


Compute Module

The first step of the modernization program was the installation of a new 15-teraflopsnogo cluster (at the end of the year is planned to increase capacity to 30 teraflops), based on the advanced architecture of the RSK-Tornado. It consists of 96 computing units, each of which — two Intel Xeon 5680 processor with an operating frequency of 3.33 GHz, 48 GB of RAM and a hard disk SSD. The distinguishing feature of this complex — liquid cooling system, which is used for the first time in the world for systems based on processors Xeon. This provides the maximum cooling of the spent 5.7% of the total energy consumption of the system, and it is truly a record number for this class of computer systems. (Meanwhile, the heat emitted by this computer will be enough to boil a barrel of water!) In addition, the new cluster, along with the cooling system takes up much less space than its older "colleague", and the clever layout of the system allows fast replacement in case of accident as the modules themselves (and it does not require power-off) and the processors and memory in the module.


As a new computing power can help predict the weather? Weather will be exactly or you can immediately calculate the weather a year in advance? These questions can be answered "yes and no." The fact is, it is not always possible to exactly predict the weather in a particular place at a particular time. Nature is too complex, and the significant impact it has on the man himself, so to simulate the behavior of air masses with absolute precision, even using the most advanced model is almost impossible. But it is possible to calculate the probability of the forecast. Simply put, the forecast would be: sunny, no precipitation, with a probability of 95%. And once it becomes clear whether this forecast to trust or is it grab an umbrella just in case — if the prediction probability will be low. To calculate the probabilities need some time to solve a system of equations, using different algorithms, or slightly altering the original data. Comparing the results, we can assess the accuracy of the forecast. It turns out that the amount of computation increases several times, so the probabilistic weather forecasting requires an increase in computing power, too many times.

The most advanced computer technologies allow to save billions of rubles — such orders are estimated losses from natural disasters — and save precious human lives.


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