Altair Software To Manage Australia’s Weather Supercomputers

TROY — The Troy-based engineering technology developer Altair announced Tuesday that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology will use Altair’s PBS Professional supercomputer workload management software to manage its new Cray supercomputing system for weather forecasting.

PBS Professional was selected as part of a Cray contract to provide the agency with a Cray XC40 supercomputer and Cray Sonexion 2000 storage system.

The new supercomputer will upgrade the bureau’s capability to deliver more precise forecasts with greater accuracy and frequency. With a 16 times increase in computing capacity, the system is expected to run nearly eight times as many daily forecasts than the current system, with up to five times improvement in model resolution.

The bureau’s expertise and services assist Australians in preparing for their nation’s harsh environment, including drought, floods, fires, storms, tsunami and tropical cyclones. Through regular forecasts, warnings, monitoring and advice spanning the Australian region and Antarctic territory, the bureau provides one of the most fundamental and widely-used services of government.

The new system will open its performance at 1.6 petaflops — a quadrillion (thousand trillion) operations per second — with plans to increase past 5 petaflops. That will make it the fastest supercomputer in Australia. The bureau’s initial Cray XC40 supercomputer will be comprised of 2,160 compute nodes with 51,840 Intel Haswell Xeon cores, 276 terabytes (a million megabytes) of RAM and usable storage of 4.3 petabytes (a billion megabytes).

Said Barry Bolding, Cray’s senior vice president and chief strategy officer: “This delivery demonstrates Cray and Altair’s leadership in providing innovative and productive HPC systems for the global operational weather and climate community.”

Altair says PBS Professional enables engineers in high performance computing environments to improve productivity, optimize resource utilization and efficiency, and simplify the process of cluster workload management.

“With PBS Professional now running the top two systems in Australia, as well as many other top weather systems around the globe, Altair solidifies our leadership as the HPC workload management provider of choice for massive-scale machines running critical, complex workloads,” said James Scapa, CEO, Altair. “We look forward to working with BOM and Cray to deploy and maintain this landmark system.”

For more information on the Cray-Altair solution at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, visit this link. 

Altair is privately held and operates more than 45 offices in 24 countries worldwide. It has more than 2,500 employees serving more than 5,000 corporate clients. More at

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