The Government has indicated its intentions to fund the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) upgraded supercomputer in its 2014-15 Budget, however, it has not indicated how much it will allocate. The fact that funding has not been disclosed indicates that the BOM will likely Approach the Market soon for the upgrade.
According to a previous report by IT News, the supercomputer is set to be 50 per cent larger than the nation’s current most powerful, the Australian National University’s Raijin. Raijin cost $50 million to construct and costs a further $12 million a year in maintenance.
The project will replace the Bureau’s Oracle/Sun based high performance computational (HPC) system, which is due to reach its end-of-life in 2016, as indicated by a Request for Proposal (RFP) in November 2013.
RFP documents stated, “The Bureau will need to replace its existing HPC system in 2016 to meet the requirements of the current and future meteorological, oceanographic, hydrological and environmental services”.
BOM’s supercomputer processes all observational data, undertakes research and underpins daily forecasting activity. The system uses numerical weather prediction models to generate a published forecast in conjunction with in-house software applications.
A 2009 Review of the Bureau of Meteorology’s capacity to respond to future extreme weather and natural disaster events and to provide seasonal forecasting services stated that the system was scheduled to be replaced in 2013-14, subject to a bid for a capital funding. At that point it was estimated the Bureau would need “$38 million on a like-for-like basis, including $14 million for data storage.”