Altair Software To Manage British Weather Service Supercomputers

TROY — The Troy engineering technology developer Altair today announced that its high-performance computing workload management software, PBS Professional, has been selected to manage workload for the Cray supercomputing system being installed by the Met Office, the British government’s national weather service.

The selection of PBS Professional occurred as part of a Cray contract to provide the Met Office with multiple Cray XC supercomputers and Cray Sonexion storage systems. Announced last fall and consisting of three phases spanning multiple years, the $128 million deal is the largest international contract in Cray’s history.

Altair is a sustaining member of The Engineering Society of Detroit.

Capable of more than 23,000 trillion calculations a second, the Met Office system will be one of the world’s fastest HPC systems. The final configurations, which will include Cray XC40 systems as well as next-generation Cray XC systems with current and future Intel Xeon processors, are expected to deliver 13 times more supercomputing power than current systems. Multiple system deliveries are expected between 2014 and 2017, with the major deliveries between 2015 and 2017.

For more information on the Met Office Cray system, visit

“Altair is a leader in delivering powerful and reliable HPC workload and simulation technologies, and their software will play an important role in the Cray supercomputers at the Met Office,” said Barry Bolding, Cray’s vice president of marketing and business development. “We are pleased to support the Met Office in its role as a national resource providing high resolution weather and climate forecasting, and we have no doubt that our Cray systems powered by PBS Professional will ensure the Met Office accomplishes their mission of providing seamless forecasting services to British businesses, the government and the public.”

Headquartered in Exeter, England, the Met Office is recognized as one of the world’s most accurate forecasters. The Met Office was set up in 1854 for the protection of lives at sea and ultimately evolving into a cutting-edge science organization with the broader mandate of protecting public and commercial interests in the event of potentially dangerous weather. The Met Office uses more than 10 million weather observations and an advanced atmospheric model to create more than 4.5 million forecasts and briefings daily, delivered to government entities, the private sector, the general populace, branches of the armed forces and other organizations.

“At the Met Office, our mission is to provide the most accurate possible information about how weather and climate changes, both near and long term, are likely to affect our daily lives,” said Rob Varley, the Met Office’s chief executive. “We need the highest levels of performance in the systems that make this level of prediction possible, which is why we choose proven, reliable industry leaders like Cray and Altair. The social and economic impact is significant — improved accuracy on our part means better decision-making for deploying local resources in storms, keeping airports open in weather crises, and much more.”

Added James Scapa, founder and CEO of Altair: “Partnering with Cray to operate some of the largest supercomputers on the planet for public safety is a privilege, and we are pleased to support accurate weather prediction with our solutions.”

PBS Professional is the flagship product in Altair’s PBS Works suite, recently named “Best HPC Software Product or Technology” in a 2014 poll of HPCwire readers.

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