The British are taking their weather obsession to new heights, as the United Kingdom announced today that it is advancing its project to build the world’s most powerful climate and weather supercomputer with the help of Microsoft.
The country’s weather service, the Bureau of Meteorology, has entered into a multi-million pound agreement with the technology company on the project, which was previously earmarked to receive 1.2 billion pounds ($ 1.6 billion) in government funding.
And while the UK is already proud of its current weather supercomputer that can perform 16,000 trillion calculations per second, the new device will be twice as powerful.
By accessing more detailed climate models, the UK hopes to protect its cities and transport infrastructure in the future to protect them from extreme weather events.
The system is located in the south of the UK and is powered by 100 percent renewable energy, and this is expected to save 7,415 tons of CO2 in the first year of operation.
And once operational next summer, the supercomputer also provides detailed simulations of local forecasts to help emergency services prepare for torrential rains and floods.
The new system could be a boon to rural communities, hit by storms last year, which has led to calls for the government to create more sustainable drainage systems.
According to scientists at the Climate Alliance, England has experienced major flooding nearly every year since 2007, and the Cray XC40 supercomputer of the Bureau of Meteorology relies in part on public-provided data to make weather forecasts in remote parts of the UK.
The United Kingdom decided to seek help from Microsoft due to its expertise in cloud and quantum computing.
The company invested $ 1 billion in the Azure hosted supercomputer built for the startup Open AI, which is designed to test large-scale artificial intelligencemodels.
Microsoft says: The Open AI device – which includes 285,000 CPU cores and 10,000 GPUs – is equivalent to the five best systems in the world, and the title of the most powerful supercomputer in the world currently belongs to the Japanese Fugaku computer.