Archived News 2018
Upgrade to UK environmental science supercomputer will make it twice as capable
A major upgrade is being made to double the storage available in the UK’s leading environmental science supercomputer, JASMIN. The upgraded system will support the global analysis of the next generation of climate models and provide a venue for UK academia and industry to exploit Earth observation data.
JASMIN provides the UK and European climate and earth-system science communities with the ability to access very large sets of environmental data, which are typically too big for them to download to their own computers, and process it rapidly, reducing the time it takes to test new ideas and get results; from months or weeks to days or hours.
The upgrade will double the available storage to more than 44 Petabytes, equivalent to over 10 billion photos. It will also add around 40% to the processing capability, with 11,500 cores on 600 nodes, similar to adding the power of several thousand high-end laptops. This means that the 1700 registered users of JASMIN can process and analyse big datasets simultaneously and in very little time.
JASMIN is a globally unique data intensive supercomputer for environmental science and currently supports over 160 science projects; JASMIN users research topics such as air pollution and climate science.
When JASMIN was brought online 6 years ago with just 4.5 Petabytes of storage it revolutionised access to data for the environmental science community in the UK. This latest upgrade offers a huge leap in the capability of the system for users.
RAL Space’s Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA), part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the STFC Scientific Computing Department (SCD) jointly manage JASMIN. The entire upgrade process will take many months, from the integration of the first new equipment in March 2018 until the last of the old storage is retired. Completion is expected by the end of 2018. The system integration is being led by SCD and the software and data management by CEDA.
Dr Victoria Bennett, Head of the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA), said “We are excited to be expanding JASMIN to manage the increasingly large datasets, from satellites, climate models and other sources. This upgrade will allow us to build on the successes we've already seen in enabling our users in the science community to efficiently process and analyse these massive datasets.”
Funded with a multi-million pound investment from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the upgraded system will also continue to provide the “UK environmental data commons” - an online collaborative space bringing together data, services and expertise - underpinning much of academic environmental science.
NERC Associate Director or National Capability and Capital, Dr Liz Fellman, said, "The JASMIN supercomputer is central to delivering NERC science across its portfolio and provides a globally unique and increasingly powerful capability for the UK's environmental science community, enabling significant improvement of predictive environmental science to benefit the UK and beyond. NERC welcomes this major upgrade to a world-class facility."
Professor Pier Luigi Vidale, a Research Scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) based at the University of Reading has been using JASMIN since 2012 to store and analyse high-resolution global climate model data. Professor Vidale welcomed the JASMIN upgrade saying: “The project we’re currently leading involves 21 institutions across Europe and will output more than 4 Petabytes of data. The upgrade will allow us to store all data and to do most of the analysis online, thus dramatically speeding up the extraction of science, at unprecedented resolution and enabling scientific publication at a far higher rate. We would not have embarked on the project without the enhanced JASMIN.”
Dr Zoe Fleming, NCAS Research Fellow based at the University of Leicester who runs the UK Met Office NAME atmospheric dispersion model on JASMIN, said “NAME allows the atmospheric chemistry community to interpret the origin and direction of air mass transport, which is important for tracking trace gases, pollen, bacteria and radioactivity. This JASMIN upgrade means that we will have access to even more data to run the simulations and even more model users can share their code for running, plotting and analysing the results.”
JASMIN is jointly managed on behalf of NERC by CEDA, part of STFC RAL Space, and the Scientific Computing Department (SCD) all based within the STFC at Harwell campus in Oxfordshire.
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