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To expand its weather modeling capabilities, the U.S. Air Force has joined computer experts at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in a strategic collaboration that includes purchasing and operating of a new high-performance weather modeling computer system. Key members of the Air Force and ORNL teams met July 10, 2018 to kick off the project and tour the facilities supporting the new system. (Photo courtesy of ORNL)

For the U.S. military, an accurate weather forecast is vital for both planning and executing global missions. To expand its weather modeling capabilities, the U.S. Air Force has joined computer experts at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in a strategic collaboration that includes purchasing and operating of a new high-performance weather modeling computer system. Key members of the Air Force and ORNL teams, including members of the global IT and security team, met July 10 to kick off this project and tour the facilities supporting the new system. , according to a story posted by ORNL.

The Air Force 557th Weather Wing provides the Air Force and Army with numerical weather model forecasts globally and regionally. With the growing magnitude of the requirements for the new system, the Air Force and ORNL identified an opportunity to leverage the capabilities of ORNL’s National Computer Science Center, including expertise in high-performance computing facilities and infrastructure, systems administration, IT procurement and acquisition, and system operations, according to the story.

“We learned about the Air Force’s needs, and it was immediately clear that ORNL could help them solve their problems,” said Jim Rogers, director of IT and facilities at NCCS. “We can integrate the needs of the Air Force weather team into our facilities in a cost-effective manner, leveraging our capabilities to provide extremely high availability to support their mission.”

As part of the collaboration, ORNL and Air Force Weather are exploring enhancements to the numerical weather model, including the potential use of hardware accelerators, improved physical processes in the model, and existing capability gaps, including hydrological impacts. The partitioned system will run the forecasting models as well as the research and development code that can significantly advance the Air Force’s science capabilities in weather forecasting.

“ORNL’s high-performance computing facilities and expertise across the computing spectrum will be a valuable partner as the Air Force seeks to advance its weather modeling capabilities,” said Jeff Nichols, associate director of the lab. Computing and Computer Science from ORNL. “Conversely, this new system will enable ORNL researchers to push the state of the art in next-generation computing technologies and evolve and refine the state of the art in research and forecasting. meteorological.”

The Air Force strives to maintain the most modern approach to weather and Earth system modeling, a goal that requires harnessing the power of next-generation computing platforms such as those operated by the NCCS, said the ORNL.

“The strategic partnership between the Air Force and ORNL provides the opportunity to leverage Oak Ridge’s world-class expertise to support our numerical weather prediction capabilities,” said Ralph Stoffler, director of weather. of the United States Air Force.

In addition to hardware deployment, ORNL researchers will apply their expertise in computer science and Earth system modeling to improve the performance of the Air Force’s target model on new computing resources and demonstrate new science capabilities, according to the story.

“Our group lives at the crossroads of computing, climate, earth sciences and weather,” said Kate Evans, group leader for the Computational Earth Sciences group at the Computing and Computational Sciences Branch. . Through the research and development portion of the collaboration, Evans and his colleagues will use their expertise in researching computational performance across multiple Earth system models to accelerate the Global Air-Land Weather Exploitation Model (GALWEM).

“We will use a combination of approaches to improve the model, some of which overlap with DOE strategies, creating a symbiotic collaboration with the Air Force and DOE,” Evans said.

To expand its weather modeling capabilities, the U.S. Air Force has joined computer experts at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in a strategic collaboration that includes purchasing and operating of a new high-performance weather modeling computer system.  Key members of the Air Force and ORNL teams met July 10, 2018 to kick off the project and tour the facilities supporting the new system.  (Photo courtesy of ORNL)

To expand its weather modeling capabilities, the U.S. Air Force has joined computer experts at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in a strategic collaboration that includes purchasing and operating of a new high-performance weather modeling computer system. Key members of the Air Force and ORNL teams met July 10, 2018 to kick off the project and tour the facilities supporting the new system. (Photo courtesy of ORNL)

The collaboration also allows the ORNL team to perform research to enable predictive hydrology capability with a robust multi-model workflow, the lab said. This workflow combines multi-scale, multi-physics models for precipitation, runoff, flow, flooding, and flood event impacts. In addition to weather forecasts, the forecasting of floods and droughts is of interest to a number of modeling and forecasting centres, including the Air Force. Beyond model development, the multi-model workflow will utilize ORNL’s evaluation, data processing and model coupling expertise.

The Air Force wants to explore later how advances in machine learning, combined with more traditional physics-based models, can advance its weather forecasting capabilities.

More information will be added as it becomes available.

See ORNL’s original story here.

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