Major upgrade to UK environmental science supercomputer

Major upgrade to UK environmental science supercomputer
A major upgrade is being made to double the storage available in the UK’s leading environmental science supercomputer.

A major upgrade is being made to double the storage available in the UK’s leading environmental science supercomputer. The new upgraded system will support the global analysis of the next generation of climate models.

The upgrade for the science supercomputer will also provide a venue for UK academia and industry to exploit Earth Observation data.

This supercomputer, called JASMIN, provides the UK and European climate and earth-system science communities with the ability to access very large sets of environmental data, which are typically too big for them to download to their own computers, and process it rapidly, reducing the time it takes to test new ideas and get results; from months or weeks to days or hours.

Upgrading the supercomputer will add around 40% to the processing capability, with 11,500 cores on 600 nodes, which is similar to adding the power of several thousand high-end laptops. It will also double the available storage to more than 44 Petabytes.

This means that the 1700 registered users of the science supercomputer can process and analyse big datasets simultaneously and in very little time.

What is the supercomputer for?

JASMIN is a globally unique data intensive supercomputer for environmental science and currently supports over 160 science projects. Users of the supercomputer research topics ranging from earthquake detection and oceanology to air pollution and climate science.

The supercomputer has previously revolutionised access to data for the science community in the UK when it was first brought online, with just 4.5 Petabytes of storage. The latest upgrade offers a huge leap in its capabilities for users.

Dr Victoria Bennett, Head of CEDA, said: “We are excited to be expanding JASMIN to manage the increasingly large datasets, from satellites, climate models and other sources. For example, the current Sentinel Earth Observation satellites alone are producing 10 Terabytes of data every day and this will grow as more are launched as part of the European Commission’s Copernicus programme. This upgrade will allow us to build on the successes we’ve already seen in enabling our users in the science community to efficiently process and analyse these massive datasets.”

Funded with a multi-million-pound investment from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the upgraded system will also continue to provide the ‘UK environmental data commons’ underpinning much of academic environmental science.

Professor Pier Luigi Vidale from the University of Reading has been using JASMIN since 2012 to store and analyse high-resolution global climate model data, and said: “The project we’re currently leading involves 21 institutions across Europe and will output more than 4 Petabytes of data. The JASMIN upgrade will allow us to store all data and to do most of the analysis online, thus dramatically speeding up the extraction of science, at unprecedented resolution and enabling scientific publication at a far higher rate.”

JASMIN is jointly managed on behalf of NERC by CEDA, part of RAL Space, and SCD all based within STFC at Harwell campus in Oxfordshire.


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