This year’s model

Take MIT’s global ocean model, assimilate data from NASA’s fleet of satellites, and run the whole thing through two of the world’s most powerful supercomputers on a much more detailed grid than used before, and you get this stunning animation of ocean currents from 1994 to 2002. It makes fascinating viewing: look for the complex whorls of currents to the southwest of NZ, or the loops of the Gulf Stream (red/white is fastest moving water).

This sort of detailed ocean modelling is important for capturing the interactions between atmosphere and ocean: useful for improving weather forecasting on short and medium term timescales, as well as improving climate projections on regional scales. NASA JPL press release here.

1 thought on “This year’s model”

  1. Always nice to see (and a peculiarity of the world that a New Zealand blog tells me about applications run a few miles away on computers of which one I helped architect over a decade ago. :-)) Adefinite nostalgia trip.

    NASA Ames is just down the street from where I used to work at SGI, through 2000. They were always lead customers for the biggest machines we could build. If we had a 256Processor product, they wanted 512, if we had 512P, they wanted 1024P…
    As a result, we often built the first instance of the next bigger machine, not at SGI, but at Ames. I sometimes thought that they’d never want anything that was actually on the price list.

    One time, they were over visiting:
    Them: “We can only get 512GB shared main memory. Whencan we get more?
    ME: “1TB Next year. Do you have budget for it?”
    Them: “Sure”.
    Me: “Will 1TB be enough?” (slyly, knowing the answer coming)
    Them: “What? No way? Do you realize how big the grid cells still are? We need more memory!”
    Me: “Well, how much will enough?” (slyly, again)
    Them: “There’s NEVER enough!”

    [I’m one of the NumaFlex architects, i.e., includes SGI Origin 3000 and Altix systems; Google mashey numaflex altix), and als oworked pretty hard to get Linux scaled enough to usable on the Altix versions, so while I’ve been long gone, it’s nice to see the systems still getting used, even if they are now switching to other clusters.]

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