The United Kingdom Met Office now has access to Microsoft Azure supercomputing

The UK Meteorological Office (Met Office) is collaborating with Microsoft to provide advanced supercomputing capability for weather and climate science, ensuring the Met Office’s global leadership in this sector.

The Met Office’s weather and climate research and programs depend heavily on supercomputing. The Met Office will be able to use Microsoft Azure’s supercomputing-as-a-service to combine the best of dedicated and public cloud services to offer more precise forecasts and help people and companies schedule everyday events, properly prepare for extreme weather, and solve climate change challenges.

To offer market-leading supercomputing-as-a-service, Microsoft Azure will combine HPE Cray EX supercomputers from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), as well as a Microsoft high-performance active data archive infrastructure and other Azure cloud technology, as well as an end-to-end managed service. The collaboration will also provide engineering capabilities to assist the Met Office in using future innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI), as well as commercialization opportunities.

The project will begin immediately, with the supercomputing capacity expected to be operational in July 2022. The supercomputer is divided into four quadrants to improve operating reliability for mission-critical supercomputing. Each quadrant will be comprised of an HPE Cray EX supercomputer integrated into Azure, initially using AMD EPYC processors from the third generation, which will be supplemented with AMD EPYC processors from the fourth generation.

The first version of the supercomputer solution would have over 1.5 million processor cores and over 60 petaflops of aggregate peak computing power, or 60 quadrillion (60,000,000,000,000,000) calculations per second. Over the next ten years, Microsoft will continue to improve computing capabilities.

With high-performance data storage, query, and retrieval capabilities, the active data archive system can accommodate nearly 4 exabytes of data. The Met Office will also make use of Azure high-performance computing (HPC) cloud solutions including HB-series InfiniBand clusters with AMD EPYC processors.