Our museum has become richer for another supercomputer! In addition to the existing SGI Onyx graphics supercomputer, the model used in the Industrial Light & Magic studio for the animations of digital dinosaurs in the movie hit “Jurassic Park”, we now have the SGI UV 2000 codenamed “Vihor” (Whirlwind) in the museum collection.
This supercomputer is a valuable donation from DHMZ (State Hydrometeorological Institute of Croatia). Since 2012 and until recently, the Vihor supercomputer was used daily to process the ALADIN (Aire Limitée Adaptation dynamique Développement InterNational) system for numerical weather forecasting, which can be followed daily on the website www.meteo.hr.
DHMZ strongly supports education on the topics of weather, climate and advanced technologies and it is in this spirit that the cooperation with The Computer Museum PEEK&POKE was realized. It is necessary to educate highly specialized IT experts to work with supercomputers, and that is why we believe that the technological seeds planted in this way will awaken curiosity and enthusiasm among students of computer science and other STEM-oriented studies.
Supercomputers are a key technological achievement that enables DHMZ create a more predictable future. Weather and climate are simulated using computer models. Thus, it is possible to give early warnings of dangerous weather conditions, forecast the weather several days in advance, forecast air quality and perform long-term climate projections.
With prognostic and climate simulations, DHMZ protects citizens, goods and nature, because timely information makes us more resistant to weather extremes. This is especially true for activities dependent on weather and climate, such as energy, transport, construction, water management and environmental protection.
Even nowadays this machine has an impressive performance. It uses 48 Xeon central processors with a total of 288 cores, over 1 TB of RAM and 10 TB of working drives with Quantum Scalar i500 storage with 60 TB of online data available with tape backup.
The new supercomputer of DHMZ is the Atos BullSequana XH2000, colloquially called “Neverin” (Stormy Wind), on which even more precise and timely information about weather and climate is produced. This supercomputer uses 12,288 processor cores with a total power of 373 teraflops. For the purposes of weather forecasting, the availability of the supercomputer must be 24/365, which is taken care of by Silicon Master, the company that maintains supercomputers.
The supercomputer has special requirements in terms of power supply, but when we get it operational again, we believe this machine will be a real attraction for STEM students. It’s a great example of how supercomputer technology can be used in real life for the benefit of the community – in Vihor’s case for detailed weather forecast.
Special thanks to the Head of the Meteorological Research and Development Division of DHMZ, Ph.D. Kristian Horvath, who selflessly engaged administratively and operationally to ensure that this supercomputer continued its life in our museum. We also thank the Faculty of Science Prof. Ph.D. Zoran Pasarić who connected the necessary dots to make this happen.