Reinventing HPC

Tuesday Keynote 2017

Peter Bauer Dr. Peter Bauer

Deputy Director Research Department, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts

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Weather and climate prediction are high-performance computing applications with significant societal and economic impact, ranging from disaster response and climate change adaptation strategies to agricultural production and energy policy. Forecasts are based on millions of observations made every day around the globe, which are then input to numerical models. The models represent complex processes that take place on scales from hundreds of metres to thousands of kilometres in the atmosphere, the ocean, the land surface, the cryosphere and the biosphere. Forecast production and dissemination to users is always time critical, and output data volumes already reach petabytes per week.

Meeting the future requirements for forecast reliability and timeliness needs 100-1000 times bigger HPC resources than today – and towards exascale. To meet these requirements, the weather and climate prediction community is undergoing one of its biggest revolutions since its foundation in the early 20th century. The revolution encompasses a fundamental redesign of mathematical algorithms and numerical methods, the ingestion of new programming models, the implementation of dynamic and resilient workflows and the efficient post-processing and handling of big data.

The talk will introduce the history of weather science and share examples of its skill and ambition. The science challenge will be translated into computing and data challenges, as well as the current avenues the weather and climate prediction community is taking in preparing for the new computing age.


Dr Peter Bauer is the Deputy Director of the Research Department at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) in Reading, UK. He obtained a masters degree from the University of Cologne and a PhD degree from the University in Hamburg, Germany, both in meteorology. During his career, he was awarded post-doctoral and research fellowships by UCAR and NASA. He worked for the German Aerospace Center leading a research team on satellite meteorology before joining ECMWF in 2000. He is the author and co-author of over 100 peer-reviewed scientific journal papers and is a member of several advisory committees for national weather services, the World Meteorological Organization and European space agencies. He is coordinating the FET-HPC project ESCAPE and co-coordinates the ESiWACE centre of excellence. At ECMWF, his current duties also include the management of the Scalability Programme that will prepare ECMWF for the upcoming computing era.