Towards Ultra-High Resolution Models of Climate and Weather

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We present a speculative extrapolation of the performance aspects of an atmospheric general circulation model to ultra-high resolution and describe alternative technological paths to realize integration of such a model in the relatively near future. Due to a superlinear scaling of the computational burden dictated by stability criterion, the solution of the equations of motion dominate the calculation at ultra-high resolutions. From this extrapolation, it is estimated that a credible kilometer scale atmospheric model would require at least a sustained ten petaflop computer to provide scientifically useful climate simulations. Our design study portends an alternate strategy for practical power-efficient implementations ... continued below

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Wehner, Michael; Oliker, Leonid & Shalf, John January 1, 2007.

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We present a speculative extrapolation of the performance aspects of an atmospheric general circulation model to ultra-high resolution and describe alternative technological paths to realize integration of such a model in the relatively near future. Due to a superlinear scaling of the computational burden dictated by stability criterion, the solution of the equations of motion dominate the calculation at ultra-high resolutions. From this extrapolation, it is estimated that a credible kilometer scale atmospheric model would require at least a sustained ten petaflop computer to provide scientifically useful climate simulations. Our design study portends an alternate strategy for practical power-efficient implementations of petaflop scale systems. Embedded processor technology could be exploited to tailor a custom machine designed to ultra-high climate model specifications at relatively affordable cost and power considerations. The major conceptual changes required by a kilometer scale climate model are certain to be difficult to implement. Although the hardware, software, and algorithms are all equally critical in conducting ultra-high climate resolution studies, it is likely that the necessary petaflop computing technology will be available in advance of a credible kilometer scale climate model.

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  • Journal Name: International Journal of High Performance ComputingApplications; Journal Volume: 22; Related Information: Journal Publication Date: 05/2008

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  • Report No.: LBNL--60799
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 929098
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc898140

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  • January 1, 2007

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Sept. 29, 2016, 7:15 p.m.

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Wehner, Michael; Oliker, Leonid & Shalf, John. Towards Ultra-High Resolution Models of Climate and Weather, article, January 1, 2007; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc898140/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.