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UK's Met Office and Microsoft sign supercomputer deal

A Met Office supercomputer

Microsoft has announced that it has signed a multimillion-pound agreement with the Met Office – the UK government’s meteorological service – for the provisioning of a new supercomputer that will improve weather and climate forecasting.

According to Microsoft, the new supercomputer will be in the top 25 supercomputers worldwide and will be twice as powerful as any of the other supercomputers in the UK. As the planet continues to heat up, the new supercomputer will be able to help the country prepare for the more severe storms, floods, and snow that is expected in the coming years.

Commenting on the agreement, Penny Endersby, Chief Executive of the Met Office, said:

“We are delighted to be working in collaboration with Microsoft to deliver our next supercomputing capability. Working together, we will provide the highest quality weather and climate datasets and ever more accurate forecasts that enable decisions to allow people to stay safe and thrive. This will be a unique capability that will keep not just the Met Office but the UK at the forefront of environmental modelling and high-performance computing.”

Microsoft and the Met Office plan to have the new supercomputer up and running sometime in the summer of 2022. Over the 10-year lifespan of the agreement, financial benefits are expected to reach up to £13 billion.

As with all supercomputers, this one will be energy-intensive. Microsoft said that it will be powered by 100% renewable energy and will take advantage of energy efficiency methods. It’s expected that these efforts will save 7,415 tonnes of CO2 in the first year of operational service alone.

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