USA & China. Polar Research Institute scientists leverage SGI technology for global climate change study

Thursday, 13 September 2007

March 1, 2007, to March 1, 2008, marks the fourth International Polar Year (IPY) -- a large scientific program focused on research in both polar caps, the Arctic and the Antarctic, to recognize the strong links these regions have with the global climate changes. This year's activities mark China's first IPY efforts, and the Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) selected compute technology from SGI (NASDAQ:SGIC) to enable this important scientific research mission.

"Our research is focused on how the Earth's Polar Regions affect global climate systems," said Dr. Sun, head of the Oceanographic Polar Region Research Lab. "With the study of the ice-sea model, we will predict the global climate changes as well as low and medium latitude climate trends. We are not computer science experts, but we found SGI's supercomputer very easy to deploy to serve our research goal. SGI's engineers are very professional to set up not only the hardware, but also the software environment and application code. SGI's turnkey solution is expected to accelerate our research and time to insight significantly."

PRIC researchers are running a host of climate models which benefit significantly from the 64GB of shared-memory of their new SGI(R) Altix(R) 4700 server. Built using SGI's powerful scalable shared-memory architecture and featuring a high-performance, industry-standard 64-bit Linux(R) environment, the SGI Altix 4700 enables all processors direct access to the global shared- memory for optimal performance on big data problems and ease of programming. Among the climate models being used by PRIC are:

GFDL Modular Ocean Model (MOM4), a 3-dimensional, z-coordinate, primitive equation ocean circulation model

Princeton Ocean Model (POM), a sigma coordinate, free surface, ocean model, which includes a turbulence sub-model

NCAR's Spectral Transform SWM (Shallow Water Model), a parallel algorithm that solves the nonlinear shallow water equations on a rotating sphere using the spectral transform method

Atmosphere-Ocean Model (AOM), designed at GISS for climate predictions at decade to century time scales

"SGI applauds the remarkable work of these dedicated researchers in unlocking the secrets to global climate change, said Alex Lee, country manager of SGI Greater China Region.”As more and more data are being generated from multi-disciplined research about the Polar regions, the integrated high performance and scalability of SGI Altix systems continue to help scientists and engineers achieve what just a short time ago was considered impossible. The achievements of these scientists illustrate that SGI truly delivers Innovation for Results."

"This system serves almost all the disciplines of our research area," said Mr. Zhu Jiangang, Director of Polar Information Center, who serves different labs within the institute added, "Besides the oceanographic research labs, some other labs, like upper atmosphere physics lab also migrated their own developed code from PC clusters to this platform with very positive results. They were able to significantly improve their productivity."

PRIC's new SGI Altix 4700 system powered by 32 Intel(R) Intanium(R) 2 processors with 64GB globally shared memory, and running Novell's SUSE(R) Linux(R) Enterprise Server 10, was installed in May.

About SGI Altix 4700

SGI Altix 4700 platform is comprised of modular blades - interchangeable compute, memory, I/O and special purpose blades for 'plug and solve' configuration flexibility. The innovative blade-to-NUMAlink(TM) architecture enables users to mix and match eight standardized blade choices, for perfect system right-sizing. The compact blade packaging of the Altix 4700 rack also provides excellent performance density. SGI Altix 4700 Platform also integrates SGI's Peer I/O technology which enables high-speed access to SGI's large shared memory for all system components. Through peer I/O, SGI Altix 4700 is the first SGI platform designed to support new computing paradigms, such as reconfigurable computing through SGI RASC(TM) technology that will take over where Moore's Law leaves off.

About IPY

The Polar Regions are remote areas of the Earth that have profound significance for the Earth's climate and ultimately environments, ecosystems and human society. However we still remain remarkably ignorant of many aspects of how polar climate operates and its interaction with polar environments, ecosystems and societies. To have any hope of understanding the current global climate and what might happen in future the science community needs a better picture of conditions at the poles and how they interact with and influence the oceans, atmosphere and land masses. The Polar Regions are highly sensitive to climate change and this raises real concern for the future of polar ecosystems and Arctic society.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 13 September 2007 )