Climate science chewing up supercomputing resources

'Infinite' demand for supercomputing resources could one day threaten the quality of Australia's climate change science

An "infinite" demand for Australia’s supercomputing resources could threaten the quality of climate change science if more high performance computing isn’t found, a leading academic in the field has warned.

According to professor Dave Griggs, director of the Monash Sustainability Institute (MSI) and CEO of ClimateWorks Australia, the demand for supercomputing resources to run complex climate change modelling poses a challenge for scientists.

“We have an infinite demand for supercomputing and the quality of the predictions you can make are a combination of how good you are at the science you put into the models, and then how powerful the supercomputing you have got to run it on,” he said.

“You need to competitive in both of those things. There is no point in putting bad science into the best computer in the world. Equally, there is no point in putting good science into a computer that is not competitive.

“If Australia were to fall behind, significantly, its competitors, then that would threaten the quality of the science. That hasn’t happened. You don’t have to have the biggest computer in the world to be the best — because the quality of science is important. But, if you are so far behind everybody else [in supercomputing] … then it would be impossible maintain your competitiveness with colleagues in other countries.”

Offering a sense of climate change science’s reliance on supercomputing to run modelling, Griggs said one model currently in use “is probably one of the most complex programs ever written… and it takes about six months to run on some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world.” “These models require a huge amount of supercomputing power; they are not trivial exercises.”

Demand for supercomputer access is not only coming from the climate science community. Australia’s bid for the $2.1 billion Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope is a major driver behind the creation of the Pawsey high performance computing centre.

In fact, demand for processing power has driven key players behind the SKA to explore the use of grid-based Cloud computing, with the aim of potentially harvesting the computing and storage power of desktops worldwide.

In July Swinburne University of Technology moved ahead with its plans for the rollout of a hybrid CPU- and GPU-based supercomputer, signing Silicon Graphics to provide the first phase of the project.

Tags supercomputersclimate changesupercomputing

More about MSISilicon GraphicsSwinburne UniversitySwinburne University of TechnologySwinburne University of TechnologyTechnology

8 Comments

John

1

Climate change is nothing more than a Capitalist red herring to keep people away from the real issue. We are running out of resources fast. We are over populated running out of oil, phosphate etc. and heading for total collapse of everything. To keep you amused in the mean time we have "climate change". LOL and we all lap it up. What a crock. Very soon now you won't need to worry about carbon or anything else for that matter. it will all be gone. I'm looking forward to the day when we can move on and become a sensible society that understands resource constraints. Planet first people second. Until we grasp this concept we are all doomed.

bluehigh

2

Over populated with dills that claim we are all doomed. Longest life expectancy in human history. Medical services that have eliminated many major diseases. Clean running water. High literacy and numeracy rates. Space exploration. Amazing material science. Incredible entertainment variety and significant leisure time. Personal communication systems like never before. Efficient Transport systems. Social services to support the poor and disabled - the list goes on and on. Now with the aid of supercomputers and math models we can help ensure the survival of our children and all some mentally sick throwbacks can do is whinge about how bad life is.

dave adams

3

Modelling is junk. Much simpler models routinely fail real life tests. That's why aerodynamicists still use test pilots and don't build jets just based on models. Most of the physics behind the climate is still unknown and hugely nonlinear. The whole carbon market is designed to create new derivatives and funny money. Can we name these modeller s in 10 years when the predictions still fail and can we send them to jail for fraud?

Tim Lohman

4

Ahh... some interesting views here, people. Any thoughts on .. you know... supercomputers?

Raymond

5

Climate change,are we saying we need a super duper computer to tell us we will end up with Summer Autumn,Spring, and Winter!

I thought Dorothera McKellar got it right in 1913 with the first Climate report she released, and nothing appears to have changed since!
She used a pen!

grumpy

6


@5 Raymond, you do not seem to understand that the climate change industry will definitely need all that super-computing capability.

How else are all the high priests of the true warmist faith going to keep track of the recurrent billions of dollars being thrown at them by gullible politicians?

Raymond

7

@ 6 Grumpy dear boy,silly me you are very correct, I have not looked into as much as perhaps others, as this is the first week of Spring and a beautiful 25c as it should be in Spring!

Silly me, I thought the mere facf, the very thought of a carbon tax had terrorised mother nature into behaving herself! there must be more to this climate change and computer (big ones) stuff, I will look into this a bit more, thanks for the heads up!
Always grateful.

benson

8

globaL WARMING is crap, and climate change is a con because the clikate is always changing.
the science of global warming is as dodgey as "muhmar gadaffi". for example i've read in an article, that climate change science don't include anything that they concider is natrual in their studdies, that includes volcanoes erruptions ,bushfires, and whatever else nature throws at us.
yet the article stated that bush fires cause two thirds of carbon dioxide gas, "and most bush fires have proved to be arson" and not natrual" since volcanoes, and bushfires are not included in science how can they blame climate change on humans which is totally insignificant. compared to nature.
climate change has been going on long before humans walked on planet earth, but bush fires, and volcanoes were there all the time,
so why don't you so called scientists go and get a real job.

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