IBM nabs huge supercomputer deal

Thanks exit for sending in this news.. IBM has signed what it hopes will be its biggest supercomputer deal ever: a contract for up to $224 million to improve the National Weather Service (news - web sites)'s forecasting technology.

IBM Global Services will operate the 2,572-processor machine, to be installed in an IBM facility in Gaithersburg, Md., IBM and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Friday. By July 2003, the system will completely take over the task of producing the National Weather Service forecasts distributed to Accuweather, the Weather Channel, and innumerable other media outlets.

The new weather system will improve forecasting, NOAA Chief Information Officer Carl Staton said in an interview. Today's system forecasts a week into the future. The new system will improve the detail and accuracy of those forecasts through better physical models and the incorporation of more data, and ultimately, Staton said, the system will be able to forecast two weeks in advance.

"As we add more data, more physics, and increase the model resolution--all those require more computing power, but we still have to do it in the same time frame," Staton said.

Supercomputers, mammoth systems that often take up large rooms, are used to tackle onerous computing operations such as cracking encrypted communications, designing nuclear weapons or developing new medicines.

News source: Yahoo! News

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