Why does it always rain on me? A new supercomputer has the answer

A new IBM supercomputer powered by Nvidia GPUs is set to enhance weather forecasts across the globe.

Nvidia has teamed up with IBM to create a new supercomputer that can deliver more frequent and more accurate weather predictions worldwide.

According to Nvidia, the supercomputer itself is an IBM POWER9 and includes Nvidia’s V100 Tensor Core GPUs – this is tech with specs far beyond your bedroom Fortnite sessions.

The IBM POWER9 runs the company’s Global High-Resolution Atmospheric Forecasting model which is now able to provide hourly updates over every two miles for around 40 per cent of the globe.

The new tech will enable the world’s most populated areas – including oceanic hotspots for weather systems – to get much-improved forecasts.

India could benefit hugely from the system. India has recently suffered one of its worst monsoons in decades and the new model could enable quicker evacuations.

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While regions like the US, Europe and Japan have enjoyed these kind of forecasts for a while now, this supercomputer enables the improvement in locations which previously only received this type of forecast every six hours and over six miles.

The previous scales meant that the validity of the information could often be a mixed bag by the time it was received.

Nvidia plays its part when it comes to displaying 3D weather models that represent the complex and sizeable amounts of data.

The IBM POWER9 runs on a whopping 296 Nvidia V100 GPUs and has to calculate a stunning 1.5 billion data points of weather information. This amount of data points equates to around 54GB of data transferred every half a second.

Nvidia says that it would’ve taken 2000 Intel Broadwell-based chips to achieve these same results as its 296 GPUs.

The difference means energy savings too – enabling the system to run on a single row of GPU-running rack servers rather than the eight rows required to do the same with CPUs.

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