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Media Release
The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray

27 June 2003

New Supercomputing Power for the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology


The Bureau of Meteorology today named the NEC Corporation as the supplier of its next supercomputer.

By December 2003, an NEC SX-6 parallel vector supercomputer capable of producing in excess of one trillion results per second will be operating at the Bureau's new HQ site in Docklands, Melbourne.

The new supercomputer will provide the core high performance computing facilities at the Joint Bureau of Meteorology/CSIRO High Performance Computing and Communications Centre. This center will be the most powerful production and research supercomputing sites in Australia and among the top weather sites worldwide.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr. Sharman Stone, said the extra computing power will lead to increased accuracy in the Bureau's numerical weather prediction models that underpin the Bureau's basic weather services.

"Significant advances have been made in forecast reliability over the last decade, for day to day weather forecasts and in seasonal climate predictions. Much of this gain in accuracy is attributed to improvements in science and in the advances made possible by the additional processing power of supercomputers", Dr. Stone said.

"All who are affected by weather and climate will benefit from the increased forecasting capabilities enabled by the new supercomputer. This will lead to significantly better weather forecasts for the general public and for specialized aviation and marine forecasts as well as warnings of severe conditions such as tropical cyclones, thunderstorms and floods".

"The new supercomputer's capability provides a firm foundation for the Bureau to advance both its strategic modelling research and its operational systems supporting weather and climate services. The scheduled increase in capability in late 2004 along with possible upgrades through contract extensions in 2007 and 2009 ensures that the Bureau is well positioned to stay amongst the world's best in weather forecasting," Dr. Stone said.

Contact:
Andrew Cox (Dr Stone's office) - 0408 057 226
Peter Gigliotti (Bureau of Meteorology) - 03 9669 4300

Commonwealth of Australia