Marine Institute

HP Supercomputers to assist in Climate Change Models

February 24, 2009

Dr Peter Heffernan - CEO of the Marine Institute, with Keith Manson (Marine Institute) and Mary Lou Nolan of Hewlett-PackardScientists working at the Marine Institute in Galway have received a boost with the announcement of a new relationship with Hewlett-Packard including the installation of a €240,000 high-performance HP supercomputer jointly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The Marine Institute will use the new system to run sophisticated climate models of the ocean and atmosphere to predict how the ocean around Ireland could look in the 21st century. This work will help predict the ocean’s behaviour, including waves, tides, temperature and salinity as well as looking at how these changes will affect the living resources within the ocean, a crucial part of climate change research.  

The deal also marks the beginning of a partnership between the Institute and HP which will see HP worldwide experts working with the Institute’s scientists on research projects related to how computer models can be improved in terms of their outputs and how the computer models can run more efficiently on super-computers. The scientific white papers and joint research projects produced from this partnership will be of benefit to researchers across the globe and will help develop our understanding of the oceans.  

The Marine Institute provides information relating to fisheries, aquaculture, ocean energy, search and rescue and storm surge prediction. All data that is collected or generated from forecasting models is freely available to the public on the website www.marine.ie.

Previously, the Oceanographic models have been run on a Linux cluster, however, this system did not have the processing power to run the increasingly complex numerical models, which must include ecosystem components, atmospheric models, and provide a centennial forecast for climate change research purposes.

According to Keith Manson, IT Systems & Operations Manager at the Marine Institute; “The introduction of this new High Performance Computing Environment will significantly increase the Marine Institute’s ability to predict the effects of Climate change on our oceans. In addition the partnership between the Marine Institute and HP is particularly exciting as it is hoped that it will lead to significant improvements in the oceanographic models used by scientists’ world wide”.  

Mary Lou Nolan, Director of Sales at HP Ireland said, “We are delighted to be part of this project. The work that the Marine Institute is doing is vital to understanding the forces behind climate change and will play a crucial part as the world searches for a solution. The oceanographic models used require enormous computing power and we will work closely with the Institute to help them adjust their algorithms to get the best results from the supercomputer. At HP we have had success in dramatically reducing the energy that customers need to run our laptops and servers and are proud to be a part of fight against climate change.”